Sakoambanditse (Spondias tefyi)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13256165
The Missouri Botanical Garden was founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw (1800-1889) to provide recreational and aesthetic benefits, and to contribute to expanding and applying knowledge about the natural world. His advisors, some of the nineteenth century’s outstanding scientists, helped focus MBG on horticultural displays, public instruction, the acquisition of important works and herbarium specimens, and botanical research. Shaw's emphasis on research has been maintained, and MBG's herbarium is now among the largest in the world, with over 5 million specimens, largely collected by staff and collaborators working around the world in priority regions for biodiversity exploration and conservation. Plant collections play a central role in taxonomic and ecological research, and with their associated data are a critical resource for understanding biodiversity and ensuring its long term protection. MBG has developed the world's largest botanical database, TROPICOS, with information made available to users through the W3TROPICOS Web interface (accessible at http://www.mobot.org). The Missouri Botanical Garden has had an active program in Madagascar for three decades, focusing for most of this period on taxonomic research and in-country capacity building, with special emphasis on training. Garden staff and associates have completed literally scores of taxonomic revisions, and MBG and Malagasy botanists have conducted one of the world’s most productive modern collecting programs, which have led to numerous significant new discoveries for the Malagasy flora. However, during the last five years, partly as a result of an increased awareness stimulated by several projects aimed at informed conservation (e.g., our “Red List for Species in Madagascar’s Endemic Plant Families” and “Inventory of Madagascar’s Littoral Forests” initiatives), the staff of the MBG Madagascar Program—in particular our Malagasy personnel—have become increasingly concerned that plant conservation efforts in Madagascar are very far from adequate. With this realization came a belief that MBG had an urgent obligation to help rectify this situation. The urgency of this challenge prompted the MBG program to conduct a series of strategic planning sessions in 2002, in which we identified four actions required to improve the conservation status of the Malagasy flora: 1) analysis of botanical information to assist in conservation planning and decision-making; 2) improved advocacy for the conservation of Malagasy plants; 3) species-focused conservation of plants on the very brink of extinction; and 4) catalysis of conservation at priority areas for plant conservation that we have identified as likely to be ignored by other conservation organizations because of their relatively small size and/or apparent rarity of prestigious animals (i.e., orphan sites). We believe that success in each of these areas will make a very significant difference to the proportion of Madagascar’s rich and unique flora that survives the next few difficult decades and enters into the hoped for period beyond, in which humankind finds the desire and methods to manage Earth’s biodiversity more rationally. This workshop also developed, for the first time, a mission statement for our program: To discover, understand, and conserve the plants of Madagascar, in order to sustain and enrich life.
Project 13256165 location - Madagascar, Africa