[Taxacom] Sad news from CAY

Sophie GONZALEZ sophie.gonzalez at ird.fr
Sat Feb 2 14:04:52 CST 2013

Dear colleagues,

We regret to inform you that Marie-Françoise Prévost (1941-2013), known by 
most of her friends and colleagues as “Fanchon” passed away on January 31st, 
at the Hospital in Cayenne. Two days before, she suffered a stroke while 
working at the Herbarium of French Guiana, and was identifying plant 
specimens until shortly before.

Fanchon retired in 2006 after many years working at the IRD (ex ORSTOM), 
first in Ivory Coast, then in French Guiana since the late 70s. An 
outstanding botanist, she was appreciated and esteemed by many specialists 
of the Neotropical flora. She favored informal relations with her expert 
colleagues and often provided invaluable help by sharing precious 
information and identifying innumerous plants. As a token of appreciation of 
the role she played, many plant species have been named after her. One of 
the 21 architectural growth models of tropical trees described by Hallé and 
Oldeman in 1970 also bears her name.

Her successful career greatly benefited from her sharp mind and keen sense 
of observation which she devoted to the study of tropical vegetation, which 
she generously shared with her colleagues and the students she helped to 
train. She diligently avoided honors and any kind of formal ceremonies 
throughout her professional life. Passionate in her work, tireless in the 
field and the laboratory alike, she played a major role in many research 
domains. In forest ecology, she initiated with Daniel Sabatier the program 
of work currently developed at AMAP Research Unit on tropical tree diversity 
in French Guiana. She contributed greatly to medicinal plant studies, as it 
is testified by her involvement in the latest edition of the book 
«Pharmacopées traditionnelles en Guyane” published in 2004.

Lately, her age started to take its toll and she rarely went to the field, 
but, after retiring, she remained very active and worked intensively at the 
Cayenne herbarium.

We have lost a valuable colleague and a true friend.

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