Short manual for collecting tree data
C.C.H. Jongkind and A.G. Voorhoeve
Liberia is exceptionally rich in tree species: there are over 700 species that can have a diameter of over 10 cm or a height of more than 10 meters. In addition there are hundreds more smaller trees and large shrubs.
The problem is that many of these species are really poorly known. Some of them have been collected by botanists only once whilst some have been collected in Liberia and nowhere else. Most likely there is a number of tree species that have never been collected yet and do not have a botanical name. These are ânewâ species, that may or may not have a local name, but they are not yet on record.
Early collectors in particular took few notes so that we know that these trees exist, but thatâs about all we know. Having so little data makes it difficult, if not impossible, to make a complete Tree Atlas that will enable identifying all species. Often identification does not go farther than: âit looks like —–, but it is differentâ.
In order to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the Liberian forest composition, more material needs to be collected, and the collected data should be as complete as possible.
This short guide, which you can download by clicking on the link to the left, will give guidelines for doing that.
It is important to fully know the Liberian forest vegetation because in future decades
and centuries the forest will be one of the pillars of existence in Liberia. If choices have to be made about future land use of still forested areas it needs to be known: what is there, can we afford to lose it?