GBIF News

Chinese Academy of Sciences publishes historic plant collection on GBIF.org

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The Biodiversity Committee, Chinese Academy of Sciences (BC-CAS) has published the first portion of its historic plant collection through GBIF.org. This dataset consists of 163,199 species occurrence records drawn from various localities in Yunnan province in southwest China, one of the country’s hotspots of biological diversity. These data are the first published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) through GBIF.org since joining the global network in October 2013.

Though researchers have previously published articles using part of these data, this release marks the first time they have been available as a single dataset. It contains notable records from the collections of the Herbarium of the CAS Institute of Botany (PE), including a type specimen of Pleurospermum arometicum (pictured here), collected by Scottish botanist George Forrest in Lijiang, Yunnan, in 1910.

This dataset represents just a small portion of overall collections in China’s National Specimen Information Infrastructure (NSII), which contains 7.6 million plant specimens and 2.8 million animal specimens, along with more than 100,000 mineral or non-biotic specimens. By working with other NSII institutions to introduce consistent data management standards and workflow processes, CAS and GBIF expect their ongoing partnership will significantly increase the volume of openly-accessible biodiversity data from China, filling information gaps and enabling new research.

CAS published the dataset using GBIF’s Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), and CAS is working with other local partners to establish a national network of institutions whose data will be accessible both through GBIF.org and an NSII portal. NSII is a China-wide project implemented by CAS, the Ministry of Education, the State Forestry Administration, and the State Oceanic Administration of China, with technical support from CAS and funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The executive director of GBIF, Donald Hobern, commented: "It is very exciting to see that this dataset from China is now freely available for researchers both inside the country and around the world. I am delighted that the collaboration between GBIF and the Chinese Academy of Sciences is producing tangible results, and I am sure this will be just the start."