Connaître, préserver et valoriser les plantes

Ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes

Improving Services and Capacity of the National Herbarium of

the Institute of Tropical Biology


Dossier Sud Expert Plantes numéro 228

In southern Vietnam, ITB is emerging as a leading institution in the field of plant research and biodiversity conservation. The ITB has made contacts with many international and national organizations working on biodiversity conservation in Vietnam, namely, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), World Conservation Union (IUCN), Forest Inventory and Planning Institute (FIPI), Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR), Missouri Botanical Garden, etc.. In the Lower Mekong region, beside its own projects, the staff of the ITB were contracted to be mainly responsible for coordinating or conducting components of projects on plant resources, biodiversity conservation, community development and environment education sponsored by international conservation organizations. The research and technical capacity that ITB has built through these projects brings us to the forefront of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in southern Vietnam. However, the experience and capacity of the ITB needs to be further strengthened and shared with other partners, including national and grass-root organizations, for conserving and sustainably managing Vietnam’s rich biodiversity

This project is a great opportunity to build human and institutional capacity institutional and human resource capacity of the national herbarium managed by the ITB to meet present and future demands in plant research in Vietnam. Used as a crucial basis for diverse scientific researches related to the flora of Vietnam for more than 100 years, it is now that the herbarium urgently needs to be more invested in order to improve its storaging conditions and to conserve it against degradation.

There is an urgent need for ITB to improve its services and scientific and technical capacity, to disseminate existing biodiversity data, and to link the database stored at the herbarium to the world community of plant researchers. Building capacity to promote the effective operation of this national herbarium of the Institute of Tropical Biology is essential to ensure its long-term outcomes.

Current resources are inadequate to address required needs in operation of the national herbarium. Up to now, the lack of appropriate conserving – operating techniques and manpower has made the herbarium be open for visiting senior researchers only and not for university students and the larger public. Every year the herbarium facilitates about one hundred visiting researchers. Meanwhile, many international and national experts working on plant and biodiversity conservation in Vietnam are not based in Hochiminh City. Their access to the herbarium is in general costly.

The services of the herbarium need reforming through exchange projects with other herbaria and accessibility to the internet in order to joint the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The linkage of the herbarium’s database to be built through this project to the web will provide worldwide users with easy searching for and accessibility to specimen images and concomitant data that have been accessible via specimen labels and internal paper documents. This will facilitate and promote studies in floristics and plant taxonomy of Vietnam and neighbor areas. Furthermore, electronic access will help reduce handling and therefore contribute to the conservation of specimens.

In addition, more than 40,000 samples collected and stored at the herbarium need to be identified. Many researchers have expressed their willingness to provide their collections to store permanently at the herbarium. Therefore, the capacity of staff of the herbarium should also be built up in terms of operating, conserving samples and researching to meet the present and future demands of studies in plants of Vietnam and neighbor areas.

In this project, ITB will cooperate with Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle – a French partner which has experienced most of greatest studies and cooperation in plants of Vietnam and Indochina, including those stored at the Vietnamese herbarium. The involvement of the French partner will contribute to the management of the Vietnamese herbarium, including examination of the herbarium, training of personal in Vietnam and Paris and design of a software to digitalize samples. In addition, the French partner will share their web-accessible computerized database, cooperate in identification of specimens, host study visits of Vietnamese in France and help in setting up a programme to detect and digitalize types from Hochiminh City and Paris

mai 2007


Vice director of the Institute of Tropical Biology

Voir la restitution faite en avril 2010 - diaporama

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