Use flora of Pakistan to strengthen and widen country’s botanical infrastructure: Experts
KARACHI: Mary E. Barkworth from the Utah State University, USA said that the completion of the Flora of Pakistan is a magnificent achievement.
She was delivering the paper during the last day of the four-day long International Symposium on Plant Life of South Asia, on the successful completion of Flora of Pakistan, at the Botanical Garden KU, said a spokesperson of KU.
The greatest compliment today’s botanists can offer its editors and contributors is to build on what it provides to strengthen, widen, expand, and revise the information it provides, she said.
She observed that the existing digital technology makes it much easier to accomplish the project. She said that several Pakistani herbaria have begun to share their specimen data and as data from more of the over 664,000 specimens in Pakistan’s herbaria become available, it will become even more useful for Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s knowledge of its plant diversity will increase, and students of botany will acquire, in addition to botanical knowledge, understanding of important concepts in informatics, a field that impacts almost every discipline,” she said.
She added that developing this combination of knowledge and tools means that today’s students, and their teachers, will need to learn new ideas and new approaches but, at the heart of it all, the knowledge must be solidly grounded in botanical understanding and good research design.
She mentioned that digital technology can assist, both by providing basic “how to” information and by providing access to in-depth advice on specific topics, such as methods of phylogenetic analysis. Pakistani herbaria through the use of digital resources will help expand them.
Meanwhile, noted Botanist Dr. Krishna Kumar Shrestha said that as a result of extensive explorations and documentation of plant diversity, 369,400 species of flowering plants, belonging to 416 families, have been documented so far.
He mentioned that in terms of plant diversity, Brazil, Colombia, China, Indonesia and Mexico comprises the highest number of species respectively.
The floristic diversity rich countries in Asia are China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Thailand; whereas in South Asia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and Afghanistan have rich flora respectively. – APP