Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (TAFORI) was established by the Tanzanian government in 1980 to conduct and coordinate all forestry-related research activities. TAFORI's primary roles are to develop appropriate silvicultural practices for various tree species and to improve and strengthen the national herbarium and arboretum.
The institute currently hosts an herbarium in Lushoto Tanga established by the Tanganyika government in the late 1940s. The herbarium hosts more than 70,000 undigitized plant specimens and is regarded as an important institution facility. Despite its importance, there has been limited efforts in making herbarium data accessible to a wider community due to financial constraints. Limited accessibility of specimen data is one of the major roadblocks for research and conservation in Tanzania. Thus, the Herbarium potentiality as a vital source of information in decision making has been undermined.
In addition, several other herbaria which are coordinated by other institutions have been established in recent decades to cater their needs for research and/or teaching. Nevertheless, there is limited coordination and information sharing among these institutes which may result in poor biodiversity data management and data redundancy. Increasing accessibility of these data and coordination among plant data holding institutes will enable more research and better-informed conservation schemes.
In this project we aim to enhance accessibility of forest flora data by
- Digitizing and updating the nomenclature of voucher specimens at TAFORI herbarium
- Publishing the digitized data in TanBIF and GBIF data portals using integrated publishing toolkit (IPT)
- Building capacity of TAFORI staff to enhance continue mobilization, digitization and publication of new species.
- Building capacity of Herbarium data users on how to access herbarium data through GBIF portals for enhanced decision-making.