African Plants - New Scholarly Resource
A wealth of information on the world of African plants is now available at the touch of a button. Aluka (www.aluka.org), is an international not-for-profit organization collaborating with institutions and individuals around the world to produce a digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa.
With the introduction of Aluka's first content area, the African Plants Initiative (API), online access will be made available to an extensive library of African plants research material, including scientific and historical data as well as photographs and illustrations, which are joined together for the first time in a single resource.
The API content area in Aluka was developed with over 20 participating countries from Africa, Europe and the USA, and will provide botanists and conservationists working in Africa and elsewhere with online access to information of vital importance to botanical training and research and conservation work throughout the continent. Significantly, many specimens will now be accessible by scientists and researchers in Africa, increasing their capacity to identify, monitor and manage the native species of their continent. Contribution to the Aluka resource thereby enables RBG Kew and other partner institutes to fulfil obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Core data consists of high resolution images of African type specimens. These reference specimens are essential in classifying and naming living organisms, a fundamental activity which underpins all other species-level biological research, including conservation work.
The digital library provides convenient access to aggregated material from previously disparate collections and facilitates linkages that were previously difficult or impossible, adding value to the collection as a whole.
RBG Kew's involvement in API began from its inception at the Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa (AETFAT) congress in Ethiopia in September 2003 and a dedicated team has been employed on the project digitizing specimens and data since March 2004. API is being introduced by Aluka at the AETFAT conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The API content made available in Aluka will continue to grow through ongoing contributions from other partner institutions.