Reflora

REFLORA Programme

The study of the Brazilian Flora, recognized as the richest in the world (Forzza et al. 2012), has a long history. During the XVIII and XIX centuries, European naturalists, visiting or residing in Brazil, and also a few Brazilian botanists, collected plant specimens and sent them to herbaria in Europe. The main objective during that period was to study the plants and their potential uses. Many of these collections provided the basis for the description of species or genera new to science (and so became nomenclatural types), or formed part of the large set of samples that were used to describe over 22 thousand species of the Flora brasiliensis (Martius, Eichler & Urban 1840 –1906).

The Brazilian Government established the REFLORA/CNPq Programme in 2010/2011 with the objective to rescue and make available images and information concerning Brazilian plants deposited chiefly in overseas herbaria through an on-line facility, the Reflora Virtual Herbarium. Initial partnerships were established with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Kew (K) and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris (P). Other European and American herbaria were included in this initiative from 2014 onwards, with the support of SiBBr (Sistema de Informação sobre a Biodiversidade Brasileira), namely the Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), the New York Botanical Garden (NY), the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (W) and the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (S). The Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (JBRJ) hosts the physical structure of the Reflora Virtual Herbarium, and is responsible for receiving the repatriated images and transcribing the data associated with the samples. Thus, images and data derived from the repatriation process, together with images and data from the herbarium of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (RB) are made available to the scientific community and the general public.

In addition to European and American herbaria, Brazilian herbaria have also begun the publication of their images and data in the Reflora Virtual Herbarium in 2014. With the support of IFN (National Forest Inventory),SiBBr and the Reflora Programme, numerous herbaria are receiving equipment and training to digitise their plant specimens. The Brazilian herbaria included to date are: Herbário Alexandre Leal Costa (ALCB), Herbário da Universidade Federal de Sergipe (ASE), Herbário da Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia (CEN), Herbário do Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau (CEPEC), Herbário Prisco Bezerra (EAC), Herbário da Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESA), Herbário do Departamento de Botânica da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (FLOR), Herbário Dr. Roberto Miguel Klein (FURB), Herbário Barbosa Rodrigues (HBR), Herbário do Departamento de Ciências Florestais da Universidade de Santa Maria (HDCF), Herbarium Uberlandense (HUFU), Herbário do Museu Botânico Municipal (MBM), Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (MG), Herbário Rondoniense (RON), Herbário da Universidade de São Paulo (SPF), Herbário da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Herbário do Departamento de Botânica da Universidade Federal do Paraná (UPCB), Herbário Central da Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (VIES).

Both the system for the List of Species of the Brazilian Flora and the Reflora Virtual Herbarium form part of the Reflora Programme. The Brazilian List is used as a baseline dictionary of names for the specimen images included in the Reflora Virtual Herbarium. The information regarding these specimens will continue to be improved and updated by a network of taxonomists working online.

We believe that the work platforms provided by the Reflora Virtual Herbarium and the List of Species of the Brazilian Flora are fundamental tools enabling Brazil to meet the first target of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation for 2020, the preparation of the Flora of Brazil online.

Contact reflora@jbrj.gov.br

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