Kew Madaghascar expedition 09
Kew's GIS unit are visiting Madagascar to record plant life in the region for conservation and test out new technologies in the field.
Kew GIS Unit - Madagascar expedition 2009
Madagascar is one of the world’s greatest hotspots of botanical biodiversity. Its conservation is a major priority if we are to stop large numbers of plant species becoming extinct, help protect the livelihoods of local people and save as yet unknown, but potentially useful plants for our future.
Over the last 50 years human activities have had a dramatic impact on the flora of Madagascar. Kew's GIS (Geographical Information Systems) team are traveling to Madagascar in November 2009 to record information about the plant life they find and support future conservation work. The focus of this expedition is to find out more about threatened plant life in high altitude forest areas and mountain bush vegetation.
Help Kew save plant life for our future - Save a plant species outright or adopt a seed for just £25
Madagascar is one of the top ten global biodiveristy hotpots. It has an incredible diversity of life, a large proportion of which is found nowhere else on earth.
Sadly, much of this valuable flora is under severe threat from vegetation clearance to make way for agriculture, charcoal production and timber extraction. There is also a threat from the illegal collection of orchids, palms and succulents.
Through our global conservation and science work, Kew is helping to protect plant life in Madagsascar.
Madagascar is home to an estimated 10,000–12,000 plant species, over 90% of which are found nowhere else on earth!
Live updates from Kew's GIS team
What are we doing?
On our expedition to Madagascar in 2009 we will use GIS techniques to record and map plant life on this island. We are particularly interested in areas where information about plant life is limited, such as high altitude forests and mountain bush vegetation.
We want to discover more about plant life and vegetation types in this amazing country so we can help to protect plant life at risk in the future. Here's some of the things that we will do on this expedition:
- record and map plant life and vegetation in high altitude forests (above 1,800 metres) and mountain bush vegetation
- seek out plant species under threat to help track changes in the variation of plant life found in this region over time
- share skills and tools with our partners to ensure effective plant conservation continues in Madagascar
- test out new technologies in the field which may lead to more effective data gathering and help protect native plant life
Meet Kew's GIS Unit
'GIS' stands for Geographic Information System. At Kew, we use this tool to record and manage information about the world's plant life - for example where different plant species are found in the world and how the variation of plant life in different places has changed over time.
GIS techniques provide ways to visualise and analyse masses of information about the state of the world's plant life. This information also helps us to reveal new relationships, patterns and trends.
As well as mapping plants and vegetation, we can also analyse the information we collect alongside other environmental data to find relationships. This helps Kew to identify plant life at risk of extinction and provides a focus for our global conservation work.