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Towards Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: a working list of all known plant species—progress and prospects

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Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) is, "a widely accessible working list of all known plant species, as a step towards a complete world Flora". This paper discusses the importance of the Target to the GSPC itself, to many sectors of science and society, and to decision makers. It then examines the progress made to date and prospects for the Target's completion. Good progress has been made in bryophytes, ferns and gymnosperms with widely accessible working lists either complete or almost so for these groups. Online working lists are available for around 50% of flowering plants. In all, Target 1 is around 53% complete. It is estimated that there are around 352,000 flowering plants and that the current gap in online coverage is around 177,000 species. The major families constituting the gap are identified, the four largest being Apocynaceae, Malvaceae, Ericaceae and Apiaceae. The large majority of families for which there is no working list available are either cosmopolitan or pantropical in distribution. However, progress to date suggests that neither broad distribution nor large numbers of species in a family are insurmountable problems in compiling working lists. The major barrier to completion of Target 1 remains the availability of taxonomists to contribute to the target. Completion of Target 1 by 2010 is possible if botanical institutions recognise the importance of the Target and collaborate, lever funding and prioritise activities appropriately.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, U.K.

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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