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Understanding and Documenting Existing Plant Diversity

In order to efficiently conserve a nation’s flora, it is vital to gain a thorough understanding of the current state of wild populations, present botanical collections and conservation efforts.

Current Status

  • China’s vast flora has been documented in the ‘Flora Republicae Popularis Sinica’, whose 31,142 species entries span 80 volumes and 126 published books, as well as the 12-volume ‘Flora of China’, available in English. Additionally, most of China’s provinces and municipalities have also published their local flora, such as the 21-volume ‘Flora of Yunnan’.
  • A ‘virtual herbarium’, an innovative online resource containing scanned images of pressed plants and associated information, is under development.
  • The first Red Data Book, a catalogue that lists rare species and those in danger of extinction, for China’s plants was published in 1992. Later in 1999 this was complemented by the publishing of China’s ‘Catalogue of Wild Plants Under Special State Control’.
  • A number of models for the conservation and sustainable use of plants have been developed, tailored specifically to the local situation in China.

‘FRPS’ China and American experts jointly published ‘Flora of China’

 

Actions Planned

  • Launching a new national survey of plant species and habitats, starting with key areas and groups of plants. This will include ensuring that recently discovered species are added to the flora and old records are verified. Significantly this will incorporate a conservation assessment, focusing initially on known threatened plants, plants of economic importance and endemic species.
  • Accelerating the construction of China’s National Herbarium as well as the development of a national network of herbaria.
  • Completing the development of the virtual herbarium and making digitised specimens available via the internet.
  • Conducting a survey of the population status of plants both in situ (in their native habitat) and ex situ (in managed collections, such as botanic gardens) conservation programmes.
  • Completing the updating of the Plant Red List (a list of native threatened and endangered plants species) by 2012.
  • Developing and scaling-up models for the further conservation and sustainable use of plants in China.