Mongabay: New assessment method finds close to one-third of tropical Africa’s plants are potentially facing extinction . “New research finds that nearly one-third — 31.7 percent — of tropical Africa’s vascular plant species might be at risk of going extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is the go-to resource for conservation status assessments, but while the majority of vertebrate species have been assessed, we know far less about the conservation status of plants, especially in the tropics.”
Computing: Kew Gardens plans to digitise and release Darwin’s data . “Kew Gardens is planning to implement an integrated collections management system to unify its disparate databases and make their data available to the world. Whilst most think of the sculpted gardens when they think of Kew, and as a plot of land which is home to over 30,000 trees that’s unsurprising, most are unaware that it’s also a centre of scientific research, and home to the world’s most extensive botanic collections.”
CBC: Research, photos of Manitoba tundra open to public. “An archive of photos and research of plants and animals in Manitoba’s tundra are now available online, providing public access to decades of Churchill, Man., history. Professors from York University in Toronto are in the town 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg this week to share the Churchill Community of Knowledge — a digital archive that more than 50 York University students have been putting together since 2011.”
Phys .org: Scientists use machine-learning algorithms to help automate plant studies. “Father of genetics Gregor Mendel spent years tediously observing and measuring pea plant traits by hand in the 1800s to uncover the basics of genetic inheritance. Today, botanists can track the traits, or phenotypes, of hundreds or thousands of plants much more quickly, with automated camera systems. Now, Salk researchers have helped speed up plant phenotyping even more, with machine-learning algorithms that teach a computer system to analyze three-dimensional shapes of the branches and leaves of a plant.”
Natural History of Ecological Restoration: Desert Trees of the World – A new database for ecological restoration. “Desert Trees of the World represents a multi-purpose, participatory database in which we have gathered a vast array of information about dryland trees, where and how they live, the communities they are part of, the many ways in which they are used by people, and some elements about their successful cultivation.”
Xinhua: China launches online database on camellia varieties. “The database has more than 45,000 names and 33,000 pictures of camellia varieties including ornamental, tea and oil species. Users can search the name of camellia varieties in different languages including English, Chinese and Japanese.” Unfortunately the story does not have a link to the database, which is here: http://camellia.iflora.cn/ .
Quartz: Pl@ntNet is the world’s best social network . “Pl@ntNet (pronounced plant-net) is the only social app that always makes me happier. Likened to Shazam for plants, it was developed a decade ago by a consortium of computer science and botanical research institutions in France. In almost every way, Pl@ntNet is unlike other social networks.”