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Greve M, Lykke A, Fagg C, Gereau R, Lewis G, Marchant R et al. (2016)
South African Journal of Botany 105 317-323.
One of the major challenges in ecosystem conservation is obtaining baseline data, particularly for regions that have been poorly inventoried, such as regions of the African continent. Here we use a database of African herbarium records and examples from the literature to show that, although herbarium records have traditionally been collected to build botanical reference “libraries” for taxonomic and inventory purposes, they provide valuable and useful information regarding species, their distribution in time and space, their traits, phenological characteristics, associated species and their physical environment. These data have the potential to provide invaluable information to feed into evidence-based conservation decisions.
Keywords: Biological collections, Database, Historical records, Label information, Long-term data collections, Trait