Tropical Biology Section
Williams, Kyle , Davies, Stuart , Middleton, David .
Botanical Diversity and Biogeography of Peninsular Thailand.
Thailand is among the most botanically diverse countries in the world with an estimated 12,000 vascular plant species. The southern Peninsula of Thailand spans nearly eight degrees of latitude (~5°N-13°N) and includes the transition zone between the Indo-Burmese and Sundaland floristic regions, two of the six most diverse and threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world. It has been estimated that over 500 genera of plants have their northern or southern distributional limits within the transition between these floristic regions. Various explanations for why these floras became and remain distinct have been proposed, including the role of the strong rainfall seasonality gradient that occurs within the Peninsula. However, analyses of species distributional patterns have not been possible due to a dearth of plant collections from the Peninsula. Thailand’s average of only 50 herbarium specimens/100 km2 pales in comparison to countries such as the United Kingdom (1720 specimens/100 km2), and is even low compared to other areas of Southeast Asia (e.g., Java and the Malay Peninsula each average nearly 200 specimens/100 km2). The principle objective of this new project is to create an inventory of the plants of Peninsular Thailand through intensive field collection and collation of existing records. In addition to testing biogeographic hypotheses on the Peninsula flora, this inventory will be used to create an interactive, computerized, web-accessible key to the families and to selected genera of the Peninsula. It is expected that numerous new country and regional distributional records will be made, as well as the discovery of many taxa new to science. Plant inventory data derived from this project will also be used for the broader Flora of Thailand project, and will form an important resource for critical conservation initiatives in the Peninsula.
1 - Harvard University, Arnold Arboretum, 22 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA
Presentation Type: Poster
Location: Special Event Center (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 12:30 PM