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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)

Inventory of the Plants of Pakistan

Peter C. Hoch, Missouri Botanical Garden
Syed I. Ali, University of Karachi
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $45,306
US Funding (Department of State): $46,021
Project Dates: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013 (Extended through March 31, 2014)

Project Overview

This project will result in a complete modern flora of more than 6,000 species from a large, relatively poorly known region of South Asia, the first complete floristic database for the region, and will foster enhanced cooperation among plant scientists from Pakistan, the United States, and other nations. Funding from this grant will make it possible to complete the final series of volumes in this mammoth project, which began in 1968 and prior to the start of this grant had produced 217 volumes of the Flora. The approximately 1,100 species to be documented in this last component of the project will be added to the Pakistan Plant Database, accessible at the Web site The printed Flora, especially the earlier volumes, is not always easily accessible outside of major scientific centers, but the completion of the Internet-accessible database makes the Flora and all of the information therein readily accessible. This will be a particular benefit to scientists, students, and administrators throughout Pakistan, who can use the information to study, protect, and preserve their natural heritage.

Quarterly Update

Following Dr. Hoch’s trip to England in May 2013 to study herbarium specimens at the Royal Botanic Gardens (K) and Natural History Museum (BM), the two largest repositories of historical specimens from the flora region, George Yatskievych (MO) commenced study of specimens (1,800) borrowed from K and BM, including entering all label data to a table in MS Excel. The visit to England also allowed GY to meet with co-author Christopher Fraser-Jenkins, who was visiting England at the time. This led to the sharing of copious notes and other information. It also allowed the completion of a working checklist of accepted taxa, along with partial synonymy and indication of which taxa occur in Pakistan and which are known from Jammu/Kashmir.

At MO, volunteer Emily Horton has been transcribing specimen label data Fraser-Jenkins obtained during visits to herbaria in India and Pakistan during the 1970s and 1980s (these herbaria generally are unavailable to non-national scientists at the present time). Thus far, Emily has converted an additional ca. 1,800 specimen labels into a table in MS Excel, but is only about 50% finished. The original notes are handwritten and difficult to read. Another volunteer Hira Raza (from Pakistan) has been working to geo-reference the label data currently available in electronic form. She has completed approximately 2,000 labels from both the British herbaria and those in India/Pakistan. The georeferencing will permit citation of the specimens in the Flora treatment. It should be noted that a copy of the Excel files will be sent back to Pakistan to be shared with botanists in the country via Professor S. I. Ali (co-PI at University of Karachi) and Dr. Raza Bhatti, Director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, Shah Abdul Latif University, in Khairpur, Pakistan, who is spending most of 2013 at MO on a Fulbright Fellowship. Dr. Bhatti is also helping to organize data support for the project through his personal contacts with other botanists in Pakistan.

By the end of 2013, GY will have completed sample treatments of two small families, so as to create a format template for the overall work. This will be reviewed by Fraser-Jenkins. The checklist of the ferns and lycophytes of Pakistan + Jammu/Kashmir currently stands at 196 taxa. It is expected that the actual draft treatment of the pteridophyte flora will require until the end of 2014 before it will be ready to submit for editing. 

Progress Reports

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