Flora of Thailand – Objectives
The tropics suffer from a huge taxonomic deficit, i.e. lack of knowledge about which organisms occur, how to recognize them from each other and what their correct names are. Thailand is no exception and it was on this basis that in 1960 the Danish and Thai botanists started a joint project with the intention of writing a scientific flora of the country. But still in 2012 only half of the Flora of Thailandhad been published, with 5386 species remaining to be treated out of the estimated total number of 10,624 species.
With support from the Carlsberg Foundation, Aarhus University started a project in 2015 aimed at promoting large-scale international collaboration to complete the Flora of Thailand in the next 10 years. To this end, the project has two main objectives:
- Expedite taxonomic treatments: the project will support the completion of manuscripts that have remained unfinished due to individual authors' lack of resources to visit European herbaria. Many of the authors of the remaining families have nearly finished manuscripts, but remain to see the important Thai plant collections in Europe. This project will bring authors with nearly finished manuscripts to Denmark to finish the treatments. By doing so, the project expects the release rate to increase to 540-670 species/year.
- Create the Thai e-Flora: this project will develop a web-based Thai e-flora as a decentralized platform where authors manage, share, and publish taxonomic data online. The use of state-of-the-art e-taxonomy tools (i.e. Scratch Pads) will allow bringing together taxonomic data of all of Thailand’s 303 plant families, with keys, descriptions, uses, illustrations, maps, and high-quality photographs of all species. Besides accelerating the dissemination of taxonomic information and making it available to a wider audience than that hitherto had access to the printed flora, the Thai e-Flora will also promote synergy between remote working groups and will be a continuously updated and dynamic flora, rather than a static document.