Rapid Botanical Survey

Rapid Botanic Survey (RBS) is primarily a field survey methodology for assessing plant communities, but it is associated with a range of non-field activities, analyses and outputs that can be considered part of RBS in a broad sense. The manual documents the full range of typical RBS activities, from field to herbarium to database to output.

RBS outputs are used for mapping, prioritising and conserving plant species. They can be used to help describe the vegetation, integrating species and community assessments. RBS is particularly appropriate in species-rich, incompletely explored vegetation, but can be used in most plant communities. RBS data can be used for determining the main patterns of floristic variation in plant communities across a landscape. RBS is also used, even in well-known vegetation, for measuring bioquality ‘temperature’: showing the degree to which a sample is a biodiversity hotspot.

Applications and outputs

  • Protected areas: RBS and bioquality assessments in Ghana led to 13% of Ghana's forests being protected in a network of Forest Reserves.
  • Logging regulation and research: Ghana's logging laws follow the Star system, with Black Star species having special protection.
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA, ESIA): RBS and bioquality assessments have been used in EIAs to quantify likely impacts from developments, establish offset areas and establish baselines. Nimba, Liberia
  • Seed collection: RBS and Star ratings have been used to prioritise species for ex situ conservation initiatives, and to describe the vegetation in which these species live naturally. Japan
  • A Manual For Rapid Botanic Survey (RBS) And Measurement Of Vegetation Bioquality.