IOPI - ASBS Newsl. September 1991

Jim Croft jrc at ANBG.GOV.AU
Wed Dec 30 08:33:34 CST 1992

Scanned from Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter 68
(September 1991) 30--31.

International Organization for Plant Information
(formerly Species Plantarum Project /
Global Plant Species Information System)

The meeting at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in June (Newsletter 67:
33), recommended that a new structure be set up to integrate and
replace the "Species Plantarum Project" (SPP) and the "Global Plant
Species Information System" (GPSIS). The proposed name of the new
body is International Organization for Plant Information
(Organisation Internationale pour la Connaissance des Vegetaux).

Kew, one of the proponents of SPP, indicated its acceptance of the
new organization at the meeting. The proponent of GPSIS, the
Commission for Plant Taxonomic Databases (TDWG), is discussing the
proposal and will decide its position at a meeting on 18 September.

The activities of IOPI will be determined by a Council of not more
than 30 members, including representatives of IAPT, TDWG, CODATA,
UNEP and IUCN.  Members of Council will be selected initially to
represent taxonomists, user-groups, information technologists, and
others appropriate to aspects of the project.

The first project of IOPI will be a Vascular Plant Checklist of the
World.  A Checklist Committee was nominated to plan and produce the
Checklist within five years. It will be supported by several working
groups addressing such aspects as the organization of taxonomic
resources, the data set to be included, the design of the database
system, and editing.

A meeting of the Interim Council of IOPI will be held in Canberra on
19-20 September, immediately before the 7th Intemational TDWG
Workshop. At this meeting, the status of the SPP and GPSIS projects
will be discussed and, hopefully, a firm decision taken to proceed
with IOPI and the proposed Checklist.

On the assumption that the Canberra meeting will approve the
establishment of IOPI or something close to it, application has
already been made to IUBS for interim recogniton of the organization
as a Commission.

Alex George
Flora of Australia

For those of you who are unclear on the history of the various groups
involved in these activities, the following list may be helpful.

    SPP- the Species Plantarum Project. This was intended as a
    computer-based project to produce a new Species Plantarum; i.e. a
    descripdon of all of the plant species of the world, with keys,
    short descriptions, and distribution information, etc. It was
    proposed by a consortium of seven major botanical institudons:-
    Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Missouri Botanical Garden, New York
    Botanical Garden, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle,
    Rijksherbarium, Smithsonian Institution, and Conservatoire et
    Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Geneve. It was launched at a
    meeting in Kew in November 1990, and was intended to take 50
    years to complete.

    GPSIS - Global Plant Species Information System. This was
    intended as a computer-based project to produce a checklist of
    plant species of the world, including authorities, synonymy,
    classification, distribution, and bibliography. It was proposed
    by the IUBS Commission for Plant Taxonomic Databases (which also
    calls itself the Taxonomic Databases Working Group, or TDWG). It
    was launched at a meeting in Delphi, Greece, in October 1990, and
    was to be completed as fast as possible.

    CODATA - ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology.

    IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
    Resources. This is an independent body, founded in 1948, for
    promoting and supporting action related to the protection and
    sustainable use of living resources. Membership comprises
    governments, government agencies, international organizations,
    and private institutions.  Its six Commissions consist of more
    than 700 experts.

    UNEP - United Nations Environment Programme. A programme and
    organization created by the United Nations Conference on the
    Human Environment in 1972, to provide guidelines for action by
    governments and international organizations designed to protect
    and improve the human environment and to remedy and prevent its

    IAPT - Internadonal Association for Plant Taxonomy. Founded in
    1950 to promote the development of plant taxonomy and to
    encourage international relations between taxonomists. Publishes
    Taxon and the Regnum Vegetabile series.  Members can be
    individuals or institutes.

    IUBS - International Union of Biological Sciences. Founded in 1922
    to promote the study of biological sciences at the international
    level. International Botanical Congresses are held under the
    auspices of its Division of Botany. Members are international
    scientific associations and societies, as well as national
    academies of science, research councils, and science associations.
    IAPT is a member.

    ICSU - Intemadonal Council of Scientific Unions. Founded in 1919
    to encourage international scientific activity and to co-ordinate
    the activities of the international scientific unions. Members
    are international scientific unions, as well as national
    academies of science, research councils, and associations of
    instititions. IUBS is a member.


Jim Croft                [Herbarium CBG]           internet: jrc at
Australian National Botanic Gardens                   voice:  +61-6-2509 490
GPO Box 1777, Canberra, ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA             fax:  +61-6-2509 599
______a division of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service______

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