A Process for ABS-Compliant Fieldwork

An example from Jardín Botánico Universitario BUAP, Mexico

  • Region

    Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Country

  • Topic

    Policy and Advocacy
  • Type

    Case Study
Amparo B. Cerón Carpio, Lucio Caamaño Onofre, Allen J. Coombes, Maricela Rodríguez Acosta. Herbarium and Botanical Garden of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.

Fieldwork practice example in Asociación Mexicana de Jardines Botánicos, 2016, Código de conducta para el acceso y uso de la biodiversidad vegetal en los que participen los jardines botánicos de México y Compendio de Buenas prácticas de acceso y uso de la biodiversidad vegetal.
(informal translation – Kate Davis)

Before starting the project, one must request permission from the relevant bodies for the collection of the flora, whether live specimens for living collections or herbarium vouchers for dry collections. Once the necessary permit or permits have been obtained, the collection of specimens involves four important steps to ensure the success of the expedition.

1. Planning

This consists of the selection of the areas and sites for collection, based on floristic and vegetation criteria and on the state of knowledge of the flora in the study areas. This planning is carried out by the curator of scientific collections, who knows the details of the objectives of the herbarium. This takes into account how much money is available, whether a trip is associated with a current project, which areas of the state need to be explored or which taxa need to be collected. Subsequently the curator communicates with the rest of the work team to determine the exact locations to be collected within the area and length of the trip.

2. Administrative processes

2.1 Administrative procedures prior to the field trip. For each field trip, one completes the forms for ‘Authorisation for field trip’, ‘Fieldwork vehicle’ and ‘Travel’.

2.2 Post-fieldwork administrative procedures. The following documents are submitted to accounting: ‘Travel allowance report’ form, with original receipts to confirm all of the expenses incurred, and ‘Fieldwork vehicle’ form, in which any required repairs are specified, if necessary.

2.3 Preparation for the expedition. Prior to the field trip, communication is established with the relevant authorities to advise them of the intentions of the outing, especially if it is in a protected natural area. One must also prepare field equipment, current collecting permits, first aid kit and letters of introduction to the relevant authorities.

3.    Field trip

3.1    Presentation to the authorities. One must go to the municipal presidency, deliver the letter of introduction, and inform them about the collecting permit authorised by SEMARNAT for the scientific collection of botanical specimens.

4. Herbarium work

4.1 The collected specimens destined for the herbarium pass through the process of drying, taxonomic identification, data entry, mounting and filing. 

Once all these steps have been carried out, the required reports are sent to the corresponding official authorities.