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Record: oai:ARNO:533085

AuthorR.M. Polhill
TitleProduction rates of major regional Floras
JournalFlora Malesiana Bulletin
AbstractThe ambitious programme of major regional Floras for developing countries initiated in the late 1940’s to 1960’s is now mostly under serious reappraisal because of the slow rates of progress, coupled with political changes, financial restrictions and evolving technology. From our present viewpoint it is difficult to envisage the resurgence of optimism and confidence following the end of the Second World War, with plans for definitive accounts of the plant resources of large areas of dependent possessions in the tropics (Van Steenis 1954). The Flora of Tropical East Africa and Flora Malesiana were to a considerable extent the models for those that followed, departing markedly from the pre-war precedent of mostly local Floras and the more synoptic approach of, for example, the Flora of West Tropical Africa and the Flora of Java. Time schedules were not a primary consideration, but completion in one or two decades was generally anticipated.
The rates of production of major regional Floras dealing with vascular plants in the present era are indicated in Table 1 and Figures 1-3. The exemplary model is provided by Flora Europaea, with eleven and a half thousand species issued in five volumes over a period of just 15 years, a rate of 770 species a year. The achievement was obtained by the determination of a small team of energetic organisers, the successful planning and acquisition of sufficient manpower and resources, tight control of a carefully determined style, form and detailed content, and a successful involvement of no less than 187 authors, with wide international collaboration of contributors and advisers (Webb 1978). Much of the success should be attributed, nonetheless, to the editors and their assistants who wrote 45% of the text, one-third by just four people (Table 2). The Flora of Australia is modelled on similar lines, is publishing on average over 300 species a year and completion can be foreseen around the turn of the century, if a little more manpower is allocated, as anticipated.
Document typearticle
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