The Global Plants Initiative is an international partnership of herbaria working to create a coordinated database of information and images of plants worldwide. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, partner organizations, capture data and create high resolution digital images of vascular type specimens from their collections. The goal of this project is a self-sustaining resource that an international community of scholars can access via the World Wide Web.
The Global Plants Initiative began in 2003 with African plants and has evolved to include plants from Latin American and the rest of the world; 151 organizations from 52 countries currently participate, and to date its database has 1,250,000 images and associated objects, of which ~30,000 are types and other objects from Latin America. When complete, the digital library will include images of more than 2 million type specimens.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute [STRI], headquartered in Panama City, Republic of Panama, is one of the main partners of the Plants Initiative. STRI coordinates the participation of herbaria from Latin America and the Caribbean; and organizes the annual meetings and other related meetings. STRI serves as liaison with the Latin America herbaria and supports them through the grant process, advising and reviewing proposals from potential partners for consideration of the Mellon Foundation. STRI has also established a Center for Digitization to support the digitization of type-specimen of smaller herbaria. STRI technicians provide training on the use of the herbscans, search for new types, labeling of sheets; mounting specimens, databases, and much more. STRI, in the collaboration of the New York Botanical Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, distributes herbscan and scanners to partners in the US and Latin America. We have had annual meetings in Panama, Argentina and Colombia. For further information on how to join this initiative, please contact Gloria Jované or Nelly A. Flórez or Doreen Tinajero
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