Concise, semi-technical guides
These are field guides designed for convenience in the field, or as accurate,
user-friendly introductions to an area. Any guide could be nimble if it covered
few species, but here we refer to guides with perhaps 200-2000 species, where
portability (pocket or small rucksack) is as important as accuracy, so the
information per species, or species coverage is limited. The target users
are those, particularly field workers, with a serious interest to learn the
plants, who are however not necessarily botanists, and whom will be expected
to check critical plants with other reference tools, such as the herbarium
and a Flora.
M. 2004.. Trees, shrubs and lianas of West African dry zones. Simple
format, with good colour photographs and useful introductory keys to
many of the savanna plants. Not comprehensive especially for shrubs
and lianas, however, so could be misleading.
Hamilton (Trees, Uganda: 1981). A useful focus on leaf details of
trees, with many drawings.
(Trees, Ghana: 1990). All tree species (down to 5cm diameter) and diagnostic
details were illustrated, with text to support. This was written part-time
over 3-4 years, c. 3 person years including the 700 illustrations and field
et al. (All plants in Ducke reserve, Brazil: 1999). Dominated by colour
photographs, arranged in a pictorial key-like manner, yet still includes much
technical detail. In size, like a pragmatic Flora, and covers all species,
but to be portable, and achievable in a modern project time frame, it covers
only a single, albeit extremely rich forest in Brazil (See case study, Ch.
2), Conciseness achieved by strongly limiting information per species and
area of coverage.
et al. (Trees, Thailand: 2000). Rich mixture of many colour photos
and line drawings.
et al. (Trees, El Salvador: 2001). No colour and just provides annotated
line drawings of leaves. Many guides still use line drawings because they
can more clearly highlight diagnostic details and are cheap to print.
(Trees, Malaya, 1988). Borders on being a student text. In spite of covering
an “incomplete set” of species (Box v), it is probably detailed enough, with
enough species and accurate local names, to function as a complete guide to