Sumatra, the second largest island in Indonesia, harbours a significant number of species, including the notable plants Amorphophalus titanum and Rafflesia arnoldii. Despite being the most biodiverse country in Southeast Asia, Indonesian specimen coverage in GBIF is not matched. Many of the specimens stored are either uncatalogued or only available in paper catalogues, including most specimens in the Sumatra herbaria. Access to specimen data is one of the major roadblocks for research and conservation in Sumatra. Increasing data availability will enable more research and better informed conservation schemes in the future.
The project will digitize and manage around 12,000 sheets of angiosperm specimens from the collections at the Universitas Andalas Herbarium (ANDA). In addition, an online database will be created to extend the use of held specimens, increase research and improve conservation on Sumatra. Through these outputs, there is a commitment to further digitization of plant species beyond the scope of the project using the herbarium collection.
The project team held a workshop on data management in August 2018 with the aim of training data entry teams and promoting the project and gain further support from within the University. To improve the awareness of the project, lecturers and students(undergraduate and post-graduate) from the Department of Biology, Andalas University were invited.
At the time of the mid-term report, over 6,000 collections (over 50% of the target number of collections) have been catalogued, photographed and digitized. The verification of this data is being, and will continue to be undertaken in partnership with respected plant taxonomists from each taxon, including project partners and others.
Another activity underway since the start of the project is the re-mounting and labelling of damanged collections; this activity will continue during the digitalization of the collections.
Progress has also been made with the drafting of the checklist of the flora of the Sumatra, and it is intended that a draft of the book will be prepared as an output of this project.
The project team also continues to compile and arrange collection metadata and after the recording of data is finalized, will proceed with data publication.
The project ended with 13,568 sheets of specimens, surpassing the target of 12,000 sheets, and digitised the data in 374 species of 85 genera within 15 families of vascular plants. Among the families are 40 species that are endemic to Sumatra. This project is the first step for improving access to specimens on Sumatra.
The e-book containing a checklist of the flora of Sumatra deposited at the Herbarium ANDA is almost finished as well as the paper publication. This data will help reduce the gap of biodiversity data from Asia.
Moving forward the collaboraters will contiune to deveop and improve the data digitisation for the rest of the collections at the herbarium and keep publishing data.