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Who amends the International code of botanical nomenclature?

Authors: Smith, Gideon F.; Figueiredo, Estrela1; Moore, Gerry2

Source: Taxon, Volume 59, Number 3, June 2010 , pp. 930-934(5)

Publisher: International Association for Plant Taxonomy

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The tropical, subtropical and some temperate regions of the world are home to large components of the known global flora. However, the herbaria in these countries, often classified as so-called emerging economies, hold a fraction of the votes that influence and decide proposals to amend the International code of botanical nomenclature. We argue that the allocation of votes to herbaria should more closely reflect the richness of the plant diversity of the country in which the herbarium is situated, as well as the size of the population using the names associated with the flora. Globally, in every single sphere of life and human endeavour, minority rule is not only frowned upon, it is rejected, often with contempt. There is no reason why, in the second decade of the 21st century, decision-making in plant nomenclature should be affected by a minority of institutions from countries with some of the world's most depauperate floras. The way in which some nomenclature committees, and the Nomenclature Section itself, have advocated a particular point of view on the typification of the genus name Acacia Mill. at the International Botanical Congress held in Vienna in 2005 has indicated just how far developing nations and continents have been left behind in the plant nomenclature debate. The IAPT could now proactively initiate a debate and process that will ultimately ensure a better representation for neglected herbaria, and therefore the countries in which they are situated, that lack a voice in plant nomenclatural matters.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: H.G.W.J. Schweickerdt Herbarium, Department of Plant Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002 South Africa;, Email: 2: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11225 U.S.A.

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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