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How free access internet resources benefit biodiversity and conservation research: Trinidad and Tobago's endemic plants and their conservation status

  • Veerle Van den Eynden (a1), Michael P. Oatham (a1) and Winston Johnson (a2)

Botanists have been urged to help assess the conservation status of all known plant species. For resource-poor and biodiversity-rich countries such assessments are scarce because of a lack of, and access to, information. However, the wide range of biodiversity and geographical resources that are now freely available on the internet, together with local herbarium data, can provide sufficient information to assess the conservation status of plants. Such resources were used to review the vascular plant species endemic to Trinidad and Tobago and to assess their conservation status. Fifty-nine species were found to be endemic, much lower than previously stated. Using the IUCN Red List criteria 18 endemic species were assessed as Critically Endangered, 16 as Endangered, 15 as Vulnerable, three as Near Threatened, and three as Data Deficient (i.e. insufficient data are available to assess their conservation status). Although such rapid assessments cannot replace in depth research, they provide essential baseline information to target research and conservation priorities and identify specific conservation actions.

Corresponding author
*Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago. E-mail
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