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In the Fall of 1998 the National Science Foundation granted the Missouri Botanical Garden a three year grant to survey the rich botanical diversity of Viet Nam (DEB-9870231, Collaborative Research: A Multi-Taxa Inventory of Threatened Conservation Areas in Viet Nam). In collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York the project has the following objectives:
  1. Conduct inventories of plants and animals in threatened regions of high biotic importance in order to describe new taxa, assess species richness and distribution patterns, and contribute to broad biogeographic and phylogenetic studies;
  2. Build long-term institutional and intellectual capacity in Viet Nam for systematic and biogeographical research, for related studies on evolution and ecology, and for efforts to apply biological data to the conservation of the country's biodiversity;
  3. Produce and disseminate scientific publications, species lists, keys, catalogs, monographs, and databases in electronic and traditional formats; and
  4. Collaborate with governmental and non-governmental organizations to broaden recognition of Viet Nam's biotic diversity, to identify threats, and to contribute to the process of conservation planning and protected areas management.
This project is focused on gathering comparative data sets on plant and animal diversity from within areas of interest to the Government of Viet Nam for protection. The NSF support has allowed the MBG to focus on the rich botanical diversity while also working closely with collaborators from the AMNH to inventory and integrate their zoological investigations. Results of our investigations are made available to interested parties within government and non-governmental organizations to be used to support biodiversity conservation efforts in Viet Nam.