The Global Plant Checklist Project

A Global Plant Checklist, encompassing about 300,000 vascular plant species and over 1,000,000 names, is IOPI's first priority. Eventually, the Checklist will also include non-vascular plants (mosses, lichens, algae, and liverworts).

This checklist is essential if humanity is to manage plant biodiversity efficiently and sustainably. It will serve as a taxonomic backbone to which users can append their more specialized information. The Checklist will form part of the Species 2000 coverage of all organisms.

This complex and time-consuming task needs an unparalleled degree of worldwide cooperation. IOPI's broad strategy is to merge data sources held by members (e.g. databases, floras, monographic treatments) into a computer-accessible format. The merged data will be edited for consistency by a worldwide network of specialists. The Checklist will become increasingly useful through refinements from taxonomic editing and the incorporation of additional data sets. It will be available as both a dynamic database and periodic hard copy publication.

A provisional Checklist is in operation. This is already useful but it is definitely a 'work in progress' and lacks the refinements envisaged for the fully relational Checklist when funds are available. If you can contribute to this effort, please contact Karen Wilson.

The Global Plant Checklist project is organized by the IOPI Checklist Committee (CLC) which has developed a detailed project plan. Computer system resources for this and other IOPI projects are planned by the IOPI Information Systems Committee (ISC). A list of data definitions for the initial edition of the checklist was prepared by the Data Definition and Standards working group (DDS) of the CLC. An extensive data model for the management of checklist information has been developed by ISC since 1993.

Development of the Global Plant Checklist Network is being supported by a grant 1997-98 from the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

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