Value of Herbarium Specimens

Don McAllister mcall at SUPERAJE.COM
Thu Jan 30 18:02:37 CST 1997

The values being suggested do not include values for uniqueness or
irreplacability.  Some species are extinct or endangered, so could not
be re-collected.  What is the cost to go collecting in Rwanda or amongst
the land mines of Afghanistan?

The time the a hopefully well-paid scientist spends in identifying
specimens may vary from a few seconds to a few days - depending on
resolving taxonomic problems or digging out the relevant literature.
And the cost of the specimen is thus in part represented by a portion of
the cost of the botanical library.

What fraction of the cost of the cabinet, heating, air conditioning,
lighting, computerizing, etc. should be allocated to each sheet?

The other kind of value being booted about and shot at these days is
what will a biotechnological or genetic engineering firm be willing to
pay for access to sampling specimens.

Part of the value comes from its use in conservation, research, mapping,
resource management.


Don E. McAllister             /& Canadian Centre for Biodiversity
Ocean Voice International          /Canadian Museum of Nature
Box 37026, 3332 McCarthy Rd. /Box 3443, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1V 0W0, Canada    /Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4
URL:  E-mail: mcall at
 (or: ah194 at Tel: (613) 264-8986, Fax: (613)

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