The role of natural history collections in biodiversity knowledge generation in Angola

New book chapter reviews history and status of Angolan biodiversity collections and their role in scientific research and other societal benefits

GBIF-mediated data resources used : 149,701 species occurrence
Welwitschia mirabilis
Described by Sir Joseph Hooker in 1862, Welwitschia mirabilis was named after Friedrich Welwitsch, collector of this specimen on the Iter Angolense expeditions in 1859. Photo: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (CC BY 4.0).

Natural history collections in museums and herbaria are of great importance to biodiversity science, particularly in countries and regions with high levels of endemism and rare species. This is especially true for Angola with its unique mixture of landscapes where tropical humid climates interface with arid deserts.

Authors of this book chapter set out to strengthen knowledge of Angolan natural history collections and their role in biodiversity knowledge generation. Reviewing the history of collections in Angola, the authors provide a detailed account of 150 years of expeditions and studies in the country, while using GBIF-mediated occurrence data to summarize the current status of collections of Angolan biodiversity—held both in local institutions and in other countries.

In addition to simply preserving and documenting biodiversity, the chapter highlights how collections underpin multiple branches of scientific research and conservation science, including supporting sustainable food production and evaluating impacts of environmental changes.

Original article

Figueira R and Lages F (2019) Museum and Herbarium Collections for Biodiversity Research in Angola. Biodiversity of Angola. Springer International Publishing 513–542. Available at: