60 year project documenting plants of East Africa celebrated at Kew Gardens
A significant milestone in East African conservation and botany will be celebrated at Kew today, to mark the completion of The Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA). This vast 60 year project involved documenting and furthering knowledge of the re
The Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA) is the largest botanical project of its kind completed over the last 100 years.
135 scientists from 21 countries have contributed their expertise to the project over the past 60 years, some of whom will gather at Kew Gardens today, 13th September 2012, to discuss how to build on the success of the project, its application to practical conservation in the region through initiatives such as the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and future collaborations.
FTEA underpins the identification of all of East Africa’s native plant species and, as such, is the basis for managing that diversity in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and wildlife landscapes.Dr Paul Smith, Head of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank
A project of utmost importance
One of the project collaborators, Professor Sebsebe Demissew, Keeper, The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, adds, “The FTEA helped the initiation of other projects such as the Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea in 1980, which was completed in 2009, and the Flora of Somalia, which was published by Kew between 1993 and 2006, though the project itself was started much earlier. Information already generated by the FTEA and support by staff served as a ‘tail wind’ to further their progress and completion.”
Adds Dr Paul Smith, Head of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, “FTEA underpins the identification of all of East Africa’s native plant species and, as such, is the basis for managing that diversity in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and wildlife landscapes. Its fundamental importance to the conservation and management of East Africa’s native plant species cannot be over-emphasised.”