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Kew's projects across South East Asia and Indochina

Kew is leading a number of projects to identify and protect plants in this extremely biodiverse region.
The MSBP's Paul Smith working with our overseas partners (Image: RBG Kew)

Helping plant identification on the ground

Kew is leading a number of projects across South East Asia and Indochina to help improve plant identification in this naturally diverse region.

Our Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Thailand project describes approximately 1,000 of the estimated 2,500 tree species from the region. Around 500 of these are illustrated with line drawings and high quality photographs.

Southern Thailand includes the area south of the Isthmus of Kra to the border with Malaysia, and is the meeting point of the Thai and Malesian Floras. The guide is used by botanists throughout SE Asia to support plant conservation, ecological, horticultural and research into the use of plants by local communities.

Our research into the distribution of the sedge family (Cyperaceae) in Thailand is also helping to improve our knowledge of this plant family and the conservation of important plant species.

The sedge family comprises 30 genera and 250 species. Plant species in this family are important economically, as weeds or as providers of food, matting, and construction materials. They are also indicators of degradation in wetlands, and could be an important conservation tool in areas where degradation of habitats is frequent.

Kew's work is helping to develop the expertise and skills to support conservation and sustainable plant use programmes. We are helping local botanists and conservationists to develop skills in plant identification, the use of GIS technology and field guide preparation.

Working together we are producing the first detailed map of a whole plant family in any tropical country. Our GIS model will also help to identify and monitor changes in distribution of sedge and across this region to inform the focus of plant conservation work. 

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