LONDON, Sept. 20 (UPI) — A catalog of the world’s plants has cut the list by 600,000 species, as names are pared down for many plants given multiple names, British researchers say.
With so many species having been named more than once, scientists have spent two years streamlining the old list into an accurate record of the world’s plants, the BBC reported Monday.
British and U.S. researchers say the ongoing effort should yield a final global Plant List of around 400,000 species.
The list, aimed at helping plant conservation, will be published this year.
“Without accurate names — authoritatively determined — understanding and communication about global plant life would descend into inefficient chaos,” Stephen Hooper, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, said.
In partnership with the Missouri Botanical Gardens, researchers at Kew have been taking records of existing plant databases and removing duplications and errors to produce a single, global inventory.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a project, and the results will be far from perfect but it will be the most comprehensive list to date,” Kew’s head of science policy and co-ordination, Eimear Nic Lughadha, said.
“It will include almost all scientific names at species level that have been published for plants.”
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