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GIS and Conservation for Madagascar 


The GIS component of the Madagascar Biodiversity Project was initially a pilot study. It has demonstrated the great potential of GIS for botanists, specifically where their work includes mapping plant species distributions, and correlating these distributions with physical or climatic parameters. The altitudinal ranges, vegetation and geological type preferences, and climatic constraints on species distributions, for example, can be given with far greater accuracy than can be derived from the label data alone. These are fundamental data which are regularly incorporated into floristic and revisionary research. Locality data is of prime importance, greatly enhancing the value of a herbarium specimen. This geographical data can be uniquely exploited and analysed to great advantage within a GIS. For the first time GIS has been used as an integral part of research in the Herbarium.

Vegetation mapping and characterisation have also provided a powerful and practical tool for conservation prioritisation and management in Madagascar. GIS analyses have been used to provide scientific arguments and data, presented in an attractive and readily accessible format, which have proved to be important in influencing the planning and management of biodiversity conservation.

Our work can be divided into the two major components:

  1. Vegetation mapping and biodiversity conservation.
  2. Interpretation and analyses of plant distributions from herbarium records.
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We would like to thank the ‘Weston Family’ who have financed this project, and ESRI for the donation the GIS software ARC/INFO and ArcView
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Contact Addresses

Justin Moat, 
GIS Unit, 
The Herbarium, 
Royal Botanic Gardens, 
Surrey,TW9 3AE. 
United Kingdom. 

Tel: +44 (0)20 8332 5276 
Fax: +44 (0)20 8332 5278 

Dr. David Du Puy, Keeper,

The Swiss Orchid Foundation at the Jany Renz Herbarium,

Botanical Institute of the University of Basel,

Schönbeinstrasse 6,

CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.





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