[Science news] - New Online Platform For Central African Flora

On 26 July 2019 Meise Botanic Garden will launched a new website with access to the data on 6750 plant species that occur in Central Africa (Dem. Rep. Congo, Rwanda and Burundi).

The older, already existing platform was in need of renewal and that is why www.floredafriquecentrale.be was created. In addition to a number of important new ways to study the data, the new website also contains more than 2,200 detailed illustrations. The ultimate goal is to electronically unlock the complete series work Flore d'Afrique centrale with its approximately 11,000 species. Researchers at the Botanic Garden have spent decades writing this flora, a monkish work that will certainly take another 15 years.

A striking feature of the new website is the built-in link with the virtual herbarium of Meise Botanic Garden, www.botanicalcollections.be, where all 1.2 million African herbarium specimens can be consulted. A large part of this herbarium collection forms the basis of the work for Flore d'Afrique centrale. Both portals were developed within the DOE! project (Digital Access to Heritage Collections), in collaboration with an external IT company and financed by the Flemish Government.

Unlocking these data is of great importance for the management and conservation of the botanical diversity in tropical Africa. Meise Botanic Garden is the world's leading institute for information about plants and mushrooms from Central Africa. Every year, several hundred experts from all over the world come to Meise to study the collections and conduct research in collaboration with the researchers at the Botanic Garden. Much of that research provides the scientific basis for the protection of the unique diversity of Central Africa.