banner.jpg

Introduction


Efforts to assess and protect plant diversity in Vietnam have been hamstrung by the country's lack of herbarium databases and botanical Web resources. The country has rather fragmentary national floras, no florulas, and few checklists; almost all of the latter are based on secondary sources without vouchers. The HN herbarium in Hanoi, founded in 1960, has ~700,000 specimens, only five percent of which are represented by duplicates in other herbaria worldwide. Until the JRS Biodiversity Foundation project began, half of the HN specimens were still in newspaper, and most were labeled with handwritten tags in Vietnamese; only 10 percent had been databased, in an in-house spreadsheet. Many collections have duplicates, but these have never been distributed to specialists or other herbaria. Vietnam's 30 national parks (NPs) are almost unknown botanically. Still, the country has a cadre of talented professional botanists, and the NPs have rather new infrastructure and staffing, so there is great potential for documenting the country's plant diversity.