Amazon forest

Tropical Important Plant Areas

Kew aims to identify and map Tropical Important Plant Areas in seven countries by 2020.

Project information

Output Leader: Iain A Darbyshire

Funded by: The Krukoff Fund and Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (Eastern Afromontane Hotspot) 

For opportunities to fund this output and help us reach our target, please contact the Output Leader.

Directing research and conservation where it matters most

One in five of the world’s plant species is threatened with extinction; many of these occur in the tropics, where species extinction continues due to destruction of natural habitats for agriculture, industry, energy and other development. We will identify concentrations of threatened species in the tropics, designating them as Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) and enabling national authorities to prioritise their protection. An example of TIPAs can be seen in Mozambique.

Many tropical countries lack the data and resources to demarcate their TIPAs, and we seek to remedy this on a global basis, initially in selected countries where we have strong partnerships and robust data sets. The Important Plant Areas initiative, established by Plantlife International, provides an effective model using simple but scientifically sound and verifiable criteria.

By 2020, Kew and our local partners will have completed the first phase of TIPA analysis: delimitation and mapping in seven countries throughout the tropics, with information on the component species available through the Plants of the World Online Portal. Information from this output will feed directly into conservation prioritisation for delivery of on-the-ground conservation actions by our partners.

Countries where TIPAs have been identified (links to each country in the map above and below)

Further information

Kew Science Blogs focusing on Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs):

Now you can discover for yourself the same areas that scientists at Kew have studied and explored using an interactive story package from Google Earth. This exciting story 'Reducing Plant Extinction', highlights Kew’s Tropical Important Plant Areas programme, and explores some of the unique landscapes where our scientists work.

 Explore the 'Reducing Plant Extinction' story.