Unlocking data on plant biodiversity for decision-making in São Tomé and Príncipe

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Thecacoris manniana
Thecacoris manniana collected in São Tomé and Príncipe by Lewis Eduardo. Photo via Missouri Botanical Garden (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) is recognized as one of the most interesting biodiversity hotspots in the Gulf of Guinea, with a large percentage of endemisms. The need to conserve tropical STP ecosystems led to the creation of the Obô National Park, which occupies 30 per cent of the island of São Tomé and 50 per cent of the island of Príncipe, which was classified as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2012.

Despite these environmental safeguard mechanisms, as far as plants are concerned, and historically, the study and knowledge of STP plant diversity has always been done intermittently and with little systematization.

The project will be coordinated by STP Agricultural and Technological Research Center, that hosts the National Herbarium (STPH), in collaboration with Forests and Biodiversity Directorate, and the University of Coimbra (Portugal).

The main objective of this project is to make the existing botanical information on STP available, creating the online Catalogue of the herbarium specimens, and updating the checklists of key flora species and develop distribution maps of threatened, endemic and rare species from STP.

The ~5,000 specimens available in STPH and ~2,500 specimens in COI will be analysed, and subsequently, high quality digital images of each specimen will be obtained; the specimens will be databased using the software SPECIFY, and locality will be georeferenced for distribution map production.

Capacity development will be another focus of this project, enhancing the skills of STPH in data mobilization, processing, management and publishing, as well as specimen identification, digitization and geo-referencing.

Finally, the project will catalyze the process of São Tomé and Príncipe becoming a GBIF participant, witch will have important implications for the management and conservation of the country's biodiversity.

€ {{ 18426 | localNumber }}
€ {{ 10551 | localNumber }}
Type of grant
Institution-level biodiversity data mobilization grant
1 April 2021 - 31 March 2023
Project identifier
Funded by
  • Herbário Nacional de S. Tomé e Principe
  • Direcção de Florestas e Biodiversidade
  • Herbario da Universidade de Coimbra - COI
  • Centre of Functional Ecology
Contact details

José Luis Xavier Mendes
Centro Investigação Agronómica e Tecnológica de STP
375 Potó - Madalena
São Tomé and Príncipe

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