Plant Diversity ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (03): 302-308.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.01.008

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Patterns of floristic inventory and plant collections in Myanmar

Thant Sin Aunga,b, Alice C. Hughesc, Phyo Kay Khined, Bo Liue, Xiao-Li Shena, Ke-Ping Maa,b   

  1. a. State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;
    b. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    c. University of Hong Kong Department of Ecology and Biodiversity, The University of Hong Kong School of Biological Sciences, China;
    d. Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Yunnan 666303, China;
    e. Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2022-09-17 Revised:2023-01-14 Published:2023-07-06
  • Contact: Xiao-Li Shen,;Ke-Ping Ma,
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported the Professional Association of the Alliance of International Science Organizations (grant number ANSO-PA-2020-10), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (grant number XDA19050404). We also want to acknowledge: at Yale University, Elizabeth Tokarz, for practical comments and suggestions on the revision of the manuscript. In Myanmar, Dr. Thaung Naing Oo, Dr. Mu Aung, Mr. U Aung Zaw Moe and Ms. Daw Myint San for their help in specimen digitization and data collection; Dr. Bo Sann for Statistics and R Support.

Abstract: Myanmar is one of the most biodiverse countries in the Asia-Pacific region due to a wide range of climatic and environmental heterogeneity. Floristic diversity in Myanmar is largely unknown, resulting in a lack of comprehensive conservation plans. We developed a database of higher plants in Myanmar derived from herbarium specimens and literature sources, and analyzed patterns of diversity inventories and collection inconsistencies, aiming to provide a baseline floristic data of Myanmar and act as a guide for future research efforts. We collected 1,329,354 records of 16,218 taxa. Results show that the collection densities at the township level was variable, with 5% of townships having no floristic collections. No ecoregion had an average collection density of greater than 1 specimen/km2 and the lowest collection density was found in the Kayah-Karen Montane Rainforests, which covered 8% of Myanmar's total area. The highest sampling densities were found in Mandalay Region, Chin State, and Yangon Region. Despite floristic collections over the past three centuries, knowledge of the distribution of the vast majority of plant taxa remained limited, particularly for gymnosperms, pteridophytes, and bryophytes. More botanical surveys and further analyses are needed to better describe Myanmar's floristic diversity. An important strategy to promote knowledge of the biodiversity patterns in Myanmar is to improve the collection and digitalization of specimens and to strengthen cooperation among countries.

Key words: Biodiversity, Ecoregion, Higher plants, Hotspots, Myanmar, Specimens