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Mobilising Kew’s Brazilian specimen data and building capacity for conservation and research in one of the world’s megadiverse countries
Digitized image of label of Gardner 3950 from Herb. Benthamianum, K (Lepidagathis floribunda (Pohl) C.Kaneyama)

Reflora is a large-scale research and data-sharing programme initiated by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq). The full scope of Reflora encompasses data capture in Brazilian and European herbaria, software development and infrastructure enhancement, research support for Brazilian botanists and capacity building. The programme is envisaged as involving multiple funders including Brazilian government agencies at federal and state level (CNPq, CAPES, several state level research funding agencies in Brazil) and major players in the Corporate Sector. Some elements of funding are already in place while others are still being negotiated.

Three aspects of Reflora are of direct relevance to RBG, Kew:

1. Study and data capture visits to RBG, Kew: In late 2010 a competitive call for proposals by CNPq resulted in 25 Brazilian Principal Investigators being funded to carry out research projects, some of which would involve a visit to Kew in 2012 or thereafter. RBG Kew will provide digitisation training and support as well as research supervision as required, subject to funding.

2. Data capture by staff to be appointed at RBG, Kew: A large-scale databasing and imaging project is projected, focused on Brazilian material deposited at Kew, especially specimens collected before 1970. Subject to funding, a Project Co-ordinator and a small team of digitisation staff are to be recruited in the UK and based within HLAA's Digital Collections Section following the successful model of the Global Plants Initiative.

3. Facilitation of data-sharing: An existing IT Project Manager will act as point of contact between Kew and the Jardim Botanico Rio de Janeiro which will receive data and images captured at Kew, make them available via the web and facilitate updating as required.

Key papers published since 2006

  • Nic Lughadha, E. & Miller, C. 2009. Accelerating global access to plant diversity information. Trends Pl. Sci. 14 (11): 622-628.

Project partners and collaborators


Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro


Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris

Project funders


Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (CNPq)

Funadação Amparo Pesquisa Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG)