Botanical Monography in the Anthropocene.


Grace OM(1), Pérez-Escobar OA(2), Lucas EJ(2), Vorontsova MS(2), Lewis GP(2), Walker BE(2), Lohmann LG(3), Knapp S(4), Wilkie P(5), Sarkinen T(5), Darbyshire I(2), Lughadha EN(2), Monro A(2), Woudstra Y(6), Demissew S(7), Muasya AM(8), Díaz S(9), Baker WJ(2), Antonelli A(10).
Author information:
(1)Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AE, UK. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AE, UK.
(3)Universidade de São Paulo, Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, 05508-900, São Paulo, Brazil.
(4)Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK.
(5)Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LP, UK.
(6)Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AE, UK; Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Gothersgade 130, Copenhagen 1153, Denmark.
(7)Department of Plant Biology and Biodiversity Management, National Herbarium, College of Natural Sciences, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 3434, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
(8)Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa.
(9)Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal
(CONICET-UNC) and FCEFyN, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Casilla de Correo 495, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina.
(10)Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AE, UK; Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 41319 Gothenburg, Sweden; Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


Unprecedented changes in the Earth's biota are prompting urgent efforts to describe and conserve plant diversity. For centuries, botanical monographs - comprehensive systematic treatments of a family or genus - have been the gold standard for disseminating scientific information to accelerate research. The lack of a monograph compounds the risk that undiscovered species become extinct before they can be studied and conserved. Progress towards estimating the Tree of Life and digital information resources now bring even the most ambitious monographs within reach. Here, we recommend best practices to complete monographs urgently, especially for tropical plant groups under imminent threat or with expected socioeconomic benefits. We also highlight the renewed relevance and potential impact of monographies for the understanding, sustainable use, and conservation of biodiversity.