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Jan 12, 2011

Brazil REFLORA Initiative Seeks to Capture Brazilian Botanical Data Stored Around the World

Avenue of Royal Palms, Botanical Gardens Rio de Janeiro
These gardens were established in 1808 by
Emperor João VI of Portugal and Brazil.
REFLORA is Brazil's 21st century
initiative to catalog its biodiversity 
Under the REFLORA initiative Brazil commenced the process of recapturing or repatriating information about Brazilian botanical data that is stored in seedbanks and databases around the world. This large-scale research and data-sharing program is funded by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq). Its mission in organizing this data is to provide data to Brazilian scientists. The official title of the initiative and program is Virtual Herbarium for Knowledge and Conservation of Brazilian Flora (REFLORA).

Institutions and programs that have signed up to participate in REFLORA are:
  • National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (Brazil)
  • Brazil's federal government - development and research agencies
  • Brazil's National Corporation of Higher Education
  • Natura (Brazilian company)
  • Vale S.A.. (Brazilian company)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (United Kingdom) 
  • Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) Paris and Virtual Herbarium Saint-Hilaire (France)
  • New York Botanical Garden (USA)
  • Missouri Botanical Garden (USA)
  • Smithsonian Institution - Botany Department (USA)
REFLORA aims to gather at least 1 million Brazilian plant samples. Approximately 600,000 are to be found through the United Kingdom's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and MNHN's repositories in France. Both of these organizations have agreed to provide digitalized data. REFLORA's goal is to have the databases available online and free of usage charges in three years.

For more see:

Hurtado, María Elena. "Brazil to repatriate its botanical data," SciDev.Net, 12 January 2011.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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