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Mapping Asia Plants: Central Asia (North Asia) and West Asia in Urumqi

On Nov. 27th -28th, Workshop on Mapping Asia Plants (MAP): Central Asia (North Asia) and West Asia was held in Urumqi. The workshop was hosted by Biodiversity Committee, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and supported by Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, CAS.

Seven taxonomists and the people involved in MAP project attended the workshop. Seven experts are academician Hikmat Hisoriev, from Institute of Botany, Plant physiology and genetics, Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, Prof. Dmitry Geltman, the Director General of Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of dlSciences, Prof. Victor Chepinoga, from Irkutsk State University, Russia, Dr. Vladimir Doronkin, from Central Siberian Botanical Garden SB RAS, Prof. Habibullo Shomurodov, from Institute of Botany, Uzbekstan Academy of Sciences, Prof. Mikhail Danilov, from Institute of Botany & Phytointroduction, Kazakhstan and Prof. Liqing Zhao, from Inner Mongolia University, China. Prof. Keping Ma, the Secretary General of BC-CAS chaired the workshop, and Prof. Weikang Yang, the vice director of Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land gave a welcome speech.

Prof. Keping Ma shared the achievements in the study of Biodiversity Informatics in China, and introduced the background, objectives, priorities, organization, progress and outlook of MAP. Also, an initiative of “Virtual Herbarium of Asia” was proposed.

The reports and discussions at the workshop were organized by three subregions, North Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia. Dr. Jianhua Xue, Dr. Wenjun Li, and Mrs. Xuehong Xu reported their progress, which focused on collection of major flora books, checklists and literatures, database establishment of plant checklist, and difficulties encountered. The invited taxonomists highly valued that the MAP project is highly significant and good progress has been made in each subregion. The authority of flora books was evaluated and relevant information of flora books were added by the experts.

Speeches on species diversity, including new genera, species and records, species distribution, digitalization of specimens in herbaria, and species red lists were given by taxonomists from North Asia and Central Asia, which is very important to distribution data integration in near future.

After the workshop, some participants visited the Herbarium of Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS.

The MAP project was financially supported by “Fund of Asia Pacific strategy for biodiversity conservation research in China” from Bureau of International Co-operation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Regional International Cooperation Funds of Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences.