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The Tropical Flora Remains Undercollected
Ghillean T. Prance, Henk Beentje, John Dransfield and Robert Johns
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 87, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 67-71
Published by: Missouri Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2666209
Page Count: 5
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Recent fieldwork of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in many parts of the tropics reveals the extent to which they are still undercollected and poorly studied. Recent studies of palms in Madagascar, Cameroon, Lao P.D.R., and Brunei Darussalam have produced many novelties, for example, in Madagascar, 3 new genera and 85 new species. Recent examples from Atlantic coastal Brazil, central Amazonia, and New Guinea are given. Even in apparently well collected areas such as the Ducke Forest Reserve near Manaus, Brazil, and in Brunei where detailed studies of small areas are made, many novelties are found. It is recommended that more such intensive studies of restricted areas are made. The rate of new species that are being described, an average of 2350 over the past nine years, and the rate of additions to Flora Neotropica suggest that the total number of angiosperms is currently being underestimated and that there are in fact between 300,000 and 320,000 species. In order to develop conservation and sustainable use of tropical ecosystems, it is essential that we continue to intensify the rate of collection before it is too late.
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden © 2000 Missouri Botanical Garden Press