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Pan-Himalaya Herbaria Network (PHN)


The Pan-Himalayas (the Himalayas and adjacent regions) forms a natural geographic unit, from the Wakhan Corridor and northeastern Hindu Kush eastwards to the Hengduan Mountains via Karakorum and the Himalayas. This region covers the northeastern corner of Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, northern Myanmar, and southwest China (S Tibet, SE Qinghai, SE Gansu, W Sichuan and NW Yunnan).

By many measures of biodiversity of the Pan-Himalayan Region stands out as being globally important. It has been included among Earth’s biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000) and includes several Global 200 ecoregions (Olson and Dinerstein 1998), two Endemic Bird Areas (Stattersfield et al. 1998), and several centers for plant diversity (WWF/IUCN 1995). Within the Pan-Himalayan Region there are numerous undigitized herbaria collections. Although these collections well-document the flora of the region, they are underutilized and inaccessible via the Internet due to a lack of both specimen digitization technologies and expertise in the host countries.

This project will leverage the experiences gained from the completion of Bhutan’s National Herbarium specimen digitization project and extend this data mobilization model to 15 regional herbaria including specimen collections in Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. The focus is on accelerating the discovery of undigitized regional herbaria specimen data the alignment of the Asia Regional Strategy with the GBIF Strategic Plan and Work Programme. This will be accomplished through a series of training workshops on specimen digitization, data portal implementation, and data publishing including data harvesting through GBIF partnership.

Significant goals for the project would be to:
1) Enable national- or regional-level integration and curation of herbaria datasets into a centralized data portal including data harvest through GBIF partnership,
2) Enhance herbaria data records to reflect national or institutional administrative units and national species checklists,
3) Provide tools that meet the requirements of national or regional researchers, policymakers and the general public,
4) Provide opportunity for taxonomic and geographic gap analysis in the available data.

The classification systems used in this Flora will reflect current understanding of phylogenetic relationships of the plant groups. The APG III system will be adopted for angiosperms, and up-to-date phylogenetic systems of gymnosperms, ferns and lycophytes will also be reflected in treating these groups.

Literature Cited

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