Argentina: The cooperation and exchange of information between the Missouri Botanical Garden and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research of Argentina (CONICET) continues according to the terms of the agreement of scientific cooperation signed by the two institutions. This agreement was made possible through the interest and enthusiasm of Armando Hunziker (CORD), director of the Flora of Argentina program. Fernando Zuloaga (SI) and his collaborators are preparing a computerized floristic checklist of the vascular plants of Argentina. This initiative began as a joint project of the Instituto de Botánica Darwinion and the Missouri Botanical Garden. The checklist will appear as a published catalog and will be available as a permanently maintained and routinely updated computer database at the principal herbaria in Argentina. The Catálogo de la Familia Poaceae en la República Argentina, the first volume of the Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de la República Argentina, was published in 1994, and the second volume containing the pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and monocots appeared in 1996. The third and final installment of the catalog, a two-volume set containing the dicots, was published in June 1999. Zuloaga has now turned his attention to initiating a checklist for the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay), a massive collaboration of institutions from the countries involved. Robert E. Magill assists in the coordination of the project from St. Louis.
Bolivia:The general floristic inventory of Bolivia, initiated in 1981, continues in close cooperation with a variety of Bolivian institutions. In February 2001 Steve Churchill took up residence in Santa Cruz, where he continues the Garden's collaboration with the Museo Noel Kempff Mercado (USZ). Churchill conducts workshops on mosses for students in Peru and Bolivia, in collaboration with Jesús Muñoz (MA), and collects bryophytes in Bolivia, Peru, and northern Argentina as part of the ongoing moss flora of the Andes, a project funded by the National Science Foundation. An important priority for Churchill is to collect vascular plants, as well as bryophytes, in major regions of Bolivia to support the Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Bolivia, a floristic project that is headed by Peter Jørgensen. In addition, he will place much emphasis on training for Bolivian students, helping them to develop thesis projects and taking them along in the field.
A new focus for field activities will be the forests of the Madidi National Park on the northeastern side of the Andes and adjacent alluvial plain of northern Bolivia in the Department of La Paz. The Madidi region is located at the juncture of four biogeographical regions. To the north and northwest are the humid forests of the southwest Amazon/Tambopata region that includes most of southern Peru. To the west, the Peruvian montane forest has a varied topography that supports formations ranging from rain forest to elfin cloud forest. To the east and southeast, the Bolivian Yungas and Chapare regions are similarly diverse, with a super-humid climate. The ecosystems to the northeast are characterized by vast expanses of open savannas crossed by corridors of gallery forest. The National Herbarium (LPB) will be collaborating on the inventory of the Madidi region. Peter Jørgensen and Steven Churchill direct the project, which has been financed by NSF for a two-year period. For more information on the Bolivian program, please contact Churchill at email@example.com.
Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Bolivia: In early 1999 the Garden signed an agreement of scientific cooperation with the Herbario Nacional de Bolivia (LPB), the Herbario Nacional Forestal Dr. Martín Cárdenas (BOLV), and the Museo Noel Kempff Mercado (USZ) to produce a checklist of the vascular plants of Bolivia following the successful model employed for the Ecuador checklist. Mike Nee (NY) will play a significant role in the project, along with Stephan Beck, Mónica Moraes, Xenia Villavicencio (LPB), Susana Arrázola (BOLV), and Mario Saldías (USZ). Peter Jørgensen (see above) will coordinate the project, with the assistance of Luzmila Arroyo, a young Bolivian scientist who finished her Master’s degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in the Fall of 2000. A large number of Bolivian students will be invited to participate in the project, which is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A web version of the catalog is also planned.
Chile:The Garden is collaborating with the Universidad de Concepción (CONC), Chile, in the preparation of the New Flora of Chile, which will cover the vascular flora. The flora of Chile has a high degree of endemism in several biogeographically unusual areas: the Atacama desert in northern Chile is the world's driest; the central zone with its Mediterranean climate is unique in South America; and the wet, cool, temperate south is home to ancient forests where relictual groups from Gondwanaland still grow. The New Flora revises a work completed in 1854 and will be written with the help of more than 40 collaborators from around the world. Charlotte M. Taylor manages the Garden's involvement in this project.
Colombia: The Garden’s activities in Colombia are coordinated by Olga Martha Montiel, assisted by Rosa Ortiz. The Garden has inventories underway at several sites in Colombia, some of which were begun by the late Al Gentry. Colombia comprises a wide variety of ecosystems including dry, near-desert formations, seasonally moist forest, rain forest, edaphically dry zones, and montane forests. The Garden’s current efforts are concentrated on particular, representative sites. These include the Bajo Calima region in western coastal Valle Department, in collaboration with Myriam Monsalve (CUVC) and the Río Escalerete Reserve, where an inventory is being conducted by Wilson Devia (TULV) and Charlotte Taylor with support from the National Geographic Society. Although these sites are only a few dozen kilometers apart, they share only about 65% of their plant species. The two sites are located in the Chocó biogeographic region, one of the least known and least studied regions of South America. Their checklists are being put up on the World Wide Web, family by family, as they are compiled. The Garden also continues working on identifications of collections from La Planada Reserve in the mountains of southwestern Colombia. The Garden is also currently working with Ricardo Callejas (HUA) and Alvaro Idárraga (HUA) on finishing the Checklist for the Department of Antioquia in the northwestern part of the country. In addition, the Garden continues more general collaboration with botanists from institutions throughout the country.
Ecuador: In collaboration with the National Herbarium (QCNE) of the Ecuadorian Museum of Natural Sciences in Quito, the Garden is carrying out an intensive program of botanical inventories, development of the QCNE herbarium, and professional training of Ecuadorian botanists. An Ecuadorian non-profit conservation and research organization, the Jatun Sacha Foundation, also collaborates with the Garden on several projects.
In 1998 the Garden's three-year "Integrated Botanical Training Program in Ecuador" was initiated with support from the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation. The program, coordinated by David Neill, is designed to strengthen Ecuador's technical capacity to carry out research, management and conservation of its natural resources, particularly the country's native plant species and tropical forest habitats. In the third year of the program (September 2000–May 2001), eight young Ecuadorians with undergraduate degrees in biology, forestry, or agronomy participated as post-graduate interns in a nine-month program involving botanical inventories in various regions of the country, training in field, herbarium, and library research methods, quantitative ecological studies, conservation assessments and environmental impact studies. The program also included field research scholarships for Ecuadorian students carrying out undergraduate thesis research in botany and related subjects, on-the-job training for staff members of the Herbario Nacional del Ecuador, and applied research and extension in agroforestry at the Amazon Plant Conservation Center and Ishpingo Botanical Garden, located at the Jatun Sacha Biological Station in Amazonian Ecuador.
This year the botanical inventory program concentrated on several areas of primary forest in Ecuador. The Ecuador program has received support from the National Geographic Society for a botanical inventory of the Cordillera del Cóndor, an eastern outlier of the Andes along the Peruvian border, during 2000-2002. The interns participated in the first field trip of this program in December 2000. The interns also carried out a re-census of several one-hectare permanent forest survey plots and initiated a phenological study of the food plants of an endangered hummingbird on the slopes of Pichincha Volcano, near Quito. The program is also helping to establish the new Quito Botanical Garden within a public park in the capital. This past year, plant ecologists Peggy Stern and Patricia Ojeda helped teach the internship program. In February, the Garden’s director of Horticulture, Shannon Smith, and Ecuador project coordinator Zachary Rogers, visited Ecuador in collaboration with the internship program.
The QCNE herbarium continues to grow rapidly in number of collections and now exceeds 158,0000 mounted specimens. It has also taken on the task of rehabilitating the collection of Luis Sodiro at QPLS in Quito, with important historical collections and numerous types collected by Sodiro in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A number of Ecuadorian botanists and foresters participate as staff members of the National Herbarium and the Jatun Sacha Foundation. Mercedes Asanza works with Neill as program assistant for the botanical training program and also teaches upper-level botany at the Central University of Ecuador. Aída Alvarez is studying for her Ph.D. in systematic botany at the New York Botanical Garden. Homero Vargas of the National Herbarium is studying for a master’s degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Edwin Narváez spent the summer of 2001 as a horticulture intern at the Garden in St. Louis, in preparation for his future work at the new Quito Botanical Garden. Walter Palacios supervises a program of community forest management in the Cordillera de Cutucú region of southeastern Ecuador, a project financed by USAID and carried out by the Jatun Sacha Foundation. Inés Padilla and Mercedes Asanza recently published a color guide to the cultivated trees and shrubs in Quito. Ximena Aguirre, Alina Freire and Museum employees Efraín Freire and Maria Simbaña complete the technical staff of the National Herbarium. The Jatun Sacha Foundation maintains the Amazon Plant Conservation Center and the Ishpingo Botanical Garden, headed by Nixon Revelo and Angel Alvarado. Jatun Sacha also now administers the Ecuador Conservation Data Center (CDC), which includes staff botanists Marcia Peñafiel and Germán Toasa. The Ecuador botanical program is overseen by Miguel Moreno, Director of the Ecuadorian Museum of Natural Sciences. In St. Louis, the Ecuador project is coordinated by Zachary Rogers. Calaway Dodson now resides in Sarasota, Florida, with occasional visits to Ecuador; he is working on the treatment of Orchidaceae for the Scandinavian-published Flora of Ecuador, in collaboration with other orchid specialists.
Carmen Ulloa and Peter Jørgensen continue their research in the páramos of southern Ecuador in the provinces of Loja and Azuay, funded by the National Geographic Society. During their last trip in November they collaborated with Ing. Jorge Caranqui (QCNE), who accompanied them in the field, and with botanists from the herbarium in Loja. They are also contributing several treatments of woody genera for a "Field Guide to the Genera of the Páramos" prepared by P. Sklenar and collaborators at New York Botanical Garden. In October they participated in the third Ecuadorian Botanical Congress organized by the National Herbarium.
Paraguay: A consortium of five Paraguayan institutions and the Missouri Botanical Garden are developing the Inventario Biológico de Paraguay. This project provides a unique opportunity to develop an understanding of Paraguayan biodiversity as a solid basis for conservation. The Inventory will consist of a comprehensive database of the plants and animals of Paraguay that includes all existing information on the nearly 350,000 specimens of flora and fauna housed primarily at natural history museums outside Paraguay. The database, which will incorporate Geographic Information System features, will be made available on the Internet and published as a printed catalog. The five institutions with which the Garden collaborates are the National Museum of Natural History of Paraguay (PY), the Schools of Chemistry (FCQ), Natural Sciences (FACEN) and Agronomy (FCA) of the National University, and the Botanical Garden and Zoo (AS) of the Municipality of Asunción. Elsa Matilde Zardini coordinates activities for the Garden’s program in Paraguay, where she resides. The institutional coordinators for the Inventario Biológico de Paraguay are Reinilda Duré Rodas (PY), Isabel Zaldívar de Basualdo (FCQ), Bonifacia Benítez de Bertoni (FACEN), Lidia Pérez de Molas (FCA), Blas Rafael Pérez Maricevich (AS), Isabel Gamarra de Fox and John Kochalka (PY).
The National Geographic Society and the collaborating institutions support collecting activities in Paraguay. Based on the resulting collections, the Garden’s colleagues in Paraguay are presenting their results at international scientific meetings and publishing papers in scientific journals. Nélida Soria (FCQ) has published several taxonomic articles. Zardini regularly teaches short courses at the National University of Asunción, under the coordination of Virginia Fernández, head of the Biology Department, and acts as co-advisor for several students in the Forestry Department who are preparing their thesis. She lectures at the School of Graduate Studies, School of Agronomy, Fundación Moisés Bertoni, Amigas Norteamericanas del Paraguay, Peace Corps, and Women’s International Club.
In St. Louis, the coordinator for the Paraguay project is Tatyana Shulkina (firstname.lastname@example.org). Because of her long career in Russia, she is selectively distributing duplicates of herbarium specimens from Paraguay to botanical institutions in the former Soviet Union, thus helping attract more international attention to Paraguay.
Peru: The Peru project, funded primarily by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is focused both on the completion of the Flora of Peru and on detailed floristic surveys of important biological reserves. It is directed by Rodolfo Vásquez from his base in Jaén (Cajamarca Department). Vásquez is currently working on a Flora of the Cenepa River Basin and surrounding region (Amazonas Department). Botanists José R. Campos, Rocío P. Rojas, and Camilo Díaz work with Vásquez in Cajamarca and Amazonas Departments. Eric Rodríguez, a botanist from the Herbarium Truxillense (HUT), also collaborates on the Cenepa project.
Since January 1999 Vásquez and his collaborators, horticulturalists Luis Campos and Olivio Díaz, have been conducting a Program of Training and Research in Conservation Botany that is funded by the Mellon and MacArthur Foundations. The program has two levels: 1) Training at the rural community level that includes reforestation modules and student demonstration gardens. In addition, the program produces ecological training manuals for the primary schools and reading materials for parents and local authorities. 2) Training for university students doing thesis research. In February and March 2000 the program provided pre-professional internships for seven students from six Peruvian universities. Two graduate students, Silvia Flores (Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana) and Jasmín Opisso (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos) finished their thesis projects in June 2000 under the program. In July 2000 two more graduate students, Gloria Calatayud (Universidad Nacional San Abad del Cusco) and Marleni Huamán (Universidad Nacional de Cajamarca-Jaén) began their thesis research.
In 1998 Vásquez worked with Oliver Phillips (University of Leeds, U.K.) on the "Long-Term Forest Dynamics Project in Amazonian Peru." They reinventoried some of the permanent plots established by Alwyn H. Gentry in Madre de Dios. Starting in 2001 they will set up four new 20 m x 500 m permanent plots at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) and two at the Reserva Biológica Allpahuayo. Both these sites are in Loreto Department. Jon Ricketson coordinates the Peru project in St. Louis with the aid of volunteer Mary Bard.
Jan Salick, Curator of Ethnobotany, lived for a number of years with the Yanesha, a small group of indigenous Amazonian people in the central jungles of Peru who live by hunting, gathering, a complex of swidden agricultures and natural forest management. Within the Yanesha traditional territory, the Yanachaga is a Peruvian National Park that covers a range in altitude from 500 to 4000 meters above sea level and seven life zones with many unique plant and animal species. The Yanesha and the Yanachaga have coexisted and co-sustained one another for millennia. Salick and other Garden botanists propose to investigate this inter-relationship of plants and people to help maintain the people, the park, and their symbiotic relationship for park management and in situ conservation of a uniquely diverse Amazonian flora.
Venezuela: The Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, initiated by the late Julian A. Steyermark, is the main focus of the Garden's activity in Venezuela. It is directed by Paul Berry (WIS) and Kay Yatskievych is the Coordinating Editor at MO. The third editor is Bruce Holst (SEL). Also contributing family or generic treatments to the series are over 200 specialists from 23 states and Washington. D.C. in the U.S.A. and 22 other countries. Volume 1, the Introduction, and Volume 2, which includes all pteridophytes and the first 11 families of the seed plants, were published by Timber Press in Fall 1995 and reprinted by Missouri Botanical Garden Press in July 1999. MBG Press also published four succeeding volumes: Volume 3 in May 1997, Volume 4 in February 1998, Volume 5 in July 1999, and Volume 6 in February 2001. Volume 7 is expected to go to press near the end of 2001. The series will consist of a total of nine volumes. Habit drawings of nearly 5,000 of the 9,400 species in the flora have been completed by Bruno Manara. Volunteers Erika Rohrbach and Shirley Flavin are scanning the drawings. Volunteer George Thornburgh helps with all aspects of editing and preparing the final camera-ready copy for publication. In addition to their editorial duties, Berry, Yatskievych, and Holst are also contributing treatments of various families to the Flora. The Venezuelan Guayana will be the subject of the Garden’s 2002 calendar insert.
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News from MO 2001 was created by Kathy Hurlbert, Leslie Miller, Eloise Cannady and Mary Merello (October 2001) and placed on the MOBOT webserver 1/22/02.