Seeking to unify the structure and botanical information in the region, the project Rescue and Integration of Botanical Data to Conserve the Southwestern Amazon, funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation, has the goal to rescue and integrate all the data in this botanical regional through digitization of data and images, making these data available onlinei and training professionals and students associated with the herbaria in this region.
The project is being administered by the Federal University of Acre (UFAC) and the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG); the agreement between the two institutions is one of the few Amazonian initiatives engaged in improving systematic knowledge of the regional flora. The initiative has as principal investigators, Douglas Daly (NYBG), Marcos Silveira (UFAC) and Hugo Dueñas (Universidad Nacional de Madre de Dios-UNAMAD), and is being coordinated by Flavius Obermüller (Agreement UFAC / NYBG).
The current project started in May 2009 with the First Meeting of the Herbaria of Southwest Amazon, which aimed to update knowledge about the regional herbaria through presentations made by their representatives, and create a network of herbaria of the Southwest Amazon. Then there was a workshop for training with the BRAHMS software that will work as a vehicle for the integration and cleaning of the botanical data being gathered for the virtual integration of botanical collections in Brazil. The meeting closed with a workshop in digital photography, a very important tool in the documentation of regional flora, both in the forest and herbarium.
A key outcome of the workshop was the Letter of Rio Branco a paper exposing the principles, results, appointments, and specific key actions and recommendations for the implementation and success of the project.
Today the project involves five countries (Brazil, United States, Peru, Bolivia and the UK) and 12 institutions: Univesidade Federal Acre ; The New York Botanical Garden ; Herbarium Alwyn Gentry - Universidad Nacional de Madre de Dios ; Herbarium Amazonense - Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana ; Natural History Museum of San Marcos; Pucallpa-Ucayali Regional Herbarium, State of Mato Grosso Universiadade ; St. Luke School , Museum of Natural History Noel Kempff ; National Herbarium of Bolivia, National Institute for Amazon Research Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford.