ÍNDICE [ENGLISH BELOW]
¿Qué es el sitio web Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico?
Plantas lade Isla de Puerto Rico es una página web botánica con dos funciones principales, ayudar a la gente a aprender acerca de las plantas de la isla de Puerto Rico y contribuir a su conservación. Se basa en trabajo que el The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) ha hecho en el Sur de Florida, la Península de Yucatán y otros lugares durante los últimos 20 años. La página es bilingüe y está dirigida a entusiastas e investigadores, educadores y estudiantes, manejadores y administradores, todos con intereses en la flora de Puerto Rico y su conservación.
La página tiene una base de datos de más de 3,500 plantas vasculares registradas para Puerto Rico. Al momento del lanzamiento hay 2,329 especies nativas y 1,077 especies introducidas, algunas solo cultivadas y otras naturalizadas. Están incluidas todas las plantas con flores, las gimnospermas, así como los helechos y aliados; sin embargo, las plantas no vasculares como los musgos y las algas no están incluidas. La base de datos está accesible mediante varias opciones incluyendo una lista alfabética, una lista de áreas de conservación, una búsqueda rápida, una búsqueda avanzada, entre otras (ver enlaces en la parte de arriba).
Cada especie contiene una ficha de especie. En ella proveemos información de una amplia gama de tópicos incluyendo la distribución nativa, taxonomía, conservación, protección legal, presencia en áreas de conservación, y elevaciones. Para muchas especies proveemos fotografías y/o ilustraciones. Se proveen muchos enlaces a varios sitios web externos permitiéndole al usuario reunir rápidamente tanta información importante como sea posible; estos enlaces web son resultado de investigación y no son derivados de algoritmos. Cuando están disponibles, también proveemos enlaces a publicaciones científicas, reportes no publicados, imágenes adicionales, y otras informaciones pertinentes.
Además de la base de datos, la página web provee tres recursos botánicos específicamente orientados a la isla de Puerto Rico. Estos son secciones principales en la página, y constituyen guías invaluables para estudiantes y quienes quieran familiarizarse por ellos mismos con la flora de Puerto Rico y su conservación.
La Guía Verde es un directorio de grupos, actividades y lugares, ya sean botánicos o relacionados.
La Agro-Guía Verde es un directorio de grupos y actividades agrícolas que son compatibles o relacionados con la conservación de los recursos vegetales.Info-Botánica es un directorio de proyectos, bases de datos y publicaciones electrónicas gratuitas disponibles en la internet, de la flora de Puerto Rico.
Cosas únicas de este sitio web
Comunidad botánica y foro público
Nos gustaría agradecer a varios individuos por ayudarnos a llevar al sitio web a una etapa para poder ser revisado. En particular, agradecemos a Leif Gann-Matzen, un diseñador web extraordinario, por su asistencia en modernizar y expandir la página, a Cara Abbott del IRC por la captura de datos y logística, a Barbara Shapiro por la captura de datos y manejo de imágenes, y a Salvador Rassi por asistir a Christina Stocking en su tarea monumental para procesar sinónimos, nombres mal aplicados y otras tareas críticas. Agradecemos a Rafael Trelles por permitirnos usar su ilustración inspirada en Agustín Stahl en nuestro estandarte (imagen central) y al Centro de Periodismo Investigativo por compartir la fotografía del manuscrito de la Botánica Antillana de Ana Roqué (foto a la izquierda). Muchas fotografías de Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico son compartidas con el Floristic Inventory of South Florida y otras bases de datos del IRC, y agradecemos muchas contribuciones fotográficas de esas fuentes. Además, agradecemos a los siguientes fotógrafos quienes contribuyeron directamente a este proyecto: Rosimar Rivera (Universidad de Puerto Rico – Río Piedras), Magha García (Jardín Pachamama), Thrity Vakil (Casas de la Selva) y Marcos Caraballo Ortiz (Pennsylvania State University). Aunque todas las imperfecciones son solo nuestras, nos gustaría agradecer a todos los revisores quienes proveyeron comentarios, ideas nuevas y correcciones: Marcos Caraballo Ortiz, Anne Frances (NatureServe), Magha García, Bruce Holst (Marie Selby Botanical Garden), Jimmy Lange (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden), Humfredo Marcano Vega (IITF), José Mari Mut, José Sustache (DRNA), Jennifer Possley (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden) y Christian Torres Santana (Parque Doña Inés – Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín). También agradecemos a los miembros de nuestra página de Facebook, Amigos de Plantas de Puerto Rico, por su participación en algunos aspectos del desarrollo de este sitio web.
Prospecto del proyecto
What is the Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico website?
Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico is a botanical website with two main functions, to help people learn about plants in the island of Puerto Rico, and to contribute to their conservation. It builds on work The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) has done in South Florida, the Yucatan Peninsula and elsewhere over the past 20 years. The site is bilingual and is directed to enthusiasts and researchers, educators and students, managers and administrators, all with interests in the flora of Puerto Rico and its conservation.
The website has a database with more than 3,500 vascular plants recorded for Puerto Rico. At launch there were 2,329 native species and 1,077 introduced species, some only cultivated and some naturalized. Flowering plants, gymnosperms, ferns and allies are all included; however, non-vascular plants like mosses and algae are not. The database is accessible using several options including an alphabetized list, a list of conservation areas, a quick search, an advanced search and more (see links at top of page).
Every species contains a species account. We provide information on a wide range of topics including native ranges, taxonomy, conservation, legal protection, presence in conservation areas, and elevations. For many species we provide photographs and/or illustrations. Extensive links to several important external websites are provided allowing the user to quickly gather as much important information as possible; these web links are researched and hard coded, not derived from algorithms. When available, we also provide links to scientific publications, unpublished reports, additional images, and other pertinent information.
In addition to the database, the website provides three botanical resources geared specifically to the island of Puerto Rico. These are major sections of this website, and they constitute invaluable guides for students and others who wish to familiarize themselves with the flora of Puerto Rico and its conservation.
The Green Guide is a directory of groups, activities and places, either botanical or related.
The Green Agro-Guide is a directory of agricultural groups and activities that are compatible or related to the conservation of plant resources.
Info-Botany is a directory of projects, databases and electronic free publications of the flora of Puerto Rico.
Unique things about this website
User-friendly and simple language format for non-experts, with the best quality for experts.
Botanical community and public forum
With the purpose of encouraging the interaction among users, be they casually interested, aficionados or experts, in addition to the three botanical directories above described, we have also opened a Facebook group.The Facebook forum “Friends of Plants of Puerto Rico” is focused on sharing information about and photos of plants and their environments in Puerto Rico, as well as news, events, and activities. This bilingual forum is a meant to facilitate the interaction among aficionados and experts, including academics, artists, and community groups on the island.
This website will only be as good as the input we receive from the community. In our minds, this is a perfect forum for Citizen Science, as people of all walks of like can make important contributions to improving our understanding of Puerto Rican plants and their conservation.
Our model of regional conservation
The Institute for Regional Conservation, founded in 1984, is private non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and long-term management of biodiversity on a regional basis, and to the prevention of regional extinctions of rare plants, animals and ecosystems. To date, we have developed botanical information services on the internet for South Florida (2001), the Florida Keys (1995), the Yucatan Peninsula (2014), and now for the island of Puerto Rico (2015).
Our regional perspective focuses on comprehensive inventories within natural biogeographical units, which has been subjected to unique histories of human use. In this case, we chose to analyze the flora of the main island of Puerto Rico, without including species or records from the other islands of the Commonwealth. These islands, including Culebra, Vieques, Caja de Muertos, Desecheo and Mona, all contain important biological resources, but we were interested in the specific issue of what had happened to the flora of the island of Puerto Rico after 500 years of intensive human use. However, all of the species of the Commonwealth are included in the database so that it is clear which species are known from the main island and which are not. At launch, 24 species had been identified as being native to Puerto Rico but not to the main island (1% of the documented native species).
The plants of conservation concern
Endemic and globally rare plants species naturally capture the attention of scientists, conservationist, and the public. And they should. As citizens of the planet, we all have a responsability to halt the extinction of species. However, many species may be rare in one region while being common in others, or they may have very large global ranges. Even so, they are part of our natural heritage; consequently, conserving them is a task for regional societies. If regionally rare species are lost from the island of Puerto Rico, then an important part of the natural heritage of Puerto Rico will also have been lost.
Our preliminary assessment, still in process, indicates that about 1 in 3 vascular plant species native to the island of Puerto Rico may be either extremely rare (endangered or critically imperiled), extirpated or extinct; in total about 800 species have been identified. These species are the ones that need our major and urgent attention. We are hopeful that this website will lead to more sharing of information and new discoveries, and that we will find that many of these species are more common on the island. But the likelihood is that most are truly rare on the island, and much effort will be needed to protect and restore these vulnerable species. It is important to point out that these findings build upon the long tradition of work in Puerto Rico on regionally rare species. Woodbury et al. (1975) identified 515 rare plant taxa in Puerto Rico. DNER’s 1988 list of Critical Elements (Quevedo 1988) included 610 taxa of rare plants, while its 2007 list (Sustache 2007) contained 535 taxa. In terms of extirpations and extinctions, this topic has also been addressed by Figueroa Colón (1996), and Axelrod (2011) included notes on many species that had not been collected in Puerto Rico for 50 years or more.
Endemic species (those found nowhere else in the world) and those with small global ranges also require our attention. Endemism does not imply by itself that a species is rare or common, or that is threatened or safe. Rather the size, distribution and condition of the population is what matters. That said, many endemic species, by definition, are very rare. Examples of well-known species endemic to the island of Puerto Rico are: Cornutia obovata, Crescentia portoricensis, Goetzea elegans, Ottoschulzia rhodoxylon, Phlebotaenia cowellii, Pleodendron macranthum, Schoepfia arenaria, Simarouba tulae and Thespesia grandiflora. Lesser known endemics include Piper abajoense, Pisonia taina, Reynosia vivesiana, Styrax portoricensis, Tabebuia karsoana and Varronia bellonis, some of these only recently described. At launch, we had identified 238 plants endemic to the island of Puerto Rico and 255 taxa known from the island of Puerto Rico which are endemic to the Commonwealth. Miller et al. (2012, 2013) identified 255 species native to Puerto Rico with small global ranges (<20,000 km2) as being at risk of global extinction, including many Puerto Rican endemics, but some that extended into other territories.
History of the project and acknowledgements
Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico grew out of a conversation in 1999 between George Gann and Ariel Lugo, Director of the US Forest Service’s International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF), at a meeting titled Tropical Restoration for the New Millennium held in San Juan. Lugo had made the point that Puerto Rico was important to understanding tropical forest destruction and recovery, because the island has already gone through many of the processes then being experienced in other parts of the world. Gann, actively engaged in conducting the Floristic Inventory of South Florida for IRC, was interested in comparing species rarity and loss between the two very different regions. In addition, understanding species loss and rarity in Puerto Rico could help shed light on what to expect in other tropical regions and help guide conservation and ecological restoration programs in tropical regions. The project initiated in 2001 with the development of a database for the Floristic Inventory and Assessment of Puerto Rico (Gann & Bradley 2002, 2004), and a report titled the Floristic Assessment of the Northern Karst Belt of Puerto Rico (Gann & Bradley 2006). A beta website for the project was launched in 2007.
The initial stages of the project were partially financed by IITF. However, by 2006 it was clear that the amount of funding available was not sufficient to bring the project to fruition and that there were several ongoing projects that once completed that would save money and improve the project. Some of these projects included the databasing of herbarium specimens at MAPR by Gary Breckon and Jeanine Vélez, at UPRRP and elsewhere. The development of the Flora of the West Indies by Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez and Mark Strong (Department of Botany – National Museum of Natural History – Smithsonian Institution) and the publication of their Catalogue of Seed Plants of the West Indies (2012), places the flora of Puerto Rico into a regional context. Likewise, the publication in 2011 of A Systematic Vademecum to the Vascular Plants of Puerto Rico by Frank Axelrod (University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras), updated the taxonomy of the Puerto Rican flora, while also providing a wealth of new information, including histories of misapplied names and updated geographic ranges in Puerto Rico. The accessibility of new online herbarium databases makes possible the consultation of tens of thousands of specimens and associated information. Especially useful to this project are: UPRRP Herbarium (University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras), MAPR Herbarium (University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez), US Herbarium – Flora of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (Department of Botany – National Museum of Natural History – Smithsonian Institution), and NY Herbarium –Plants and Fungi of Puerto Rico (The New York Botanical Garden). And then there is the wealth of global and regional botanical websites, many of which we utilize on the website.
After working for years as time permitted, the IRC Board of Directors made this project a programmatic priority and in early 2015 IRC CEO Craig van der Heiden made resources available for us to bring the website to a formal launch. Many have assisted us, wittingly and unwittingly, over the years and we would like to acknowledge the primary ones here. We start by thanking Ariel Lugo, Magaly Figueroa and others at IITF for getting the project off the ground, and Keith Bradley and Stephen Hodges of IRC for their early contributions in assembling the database. Pedro Acevedo and Frank Axelrod both provided significant amounts of data and expertise to this project early on, and again in the later stages. Mark Strong (Smithsonian) has also been very helpful untangling a variety of botanical issues in the West Indies and South Florida, and Jeanine Vélez and Gary Breckon (University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez) have kindly shared herbarium specimen data from MAPR. Vicente Quevedo (DNER) provided us with list of rare species early in the project and Christian Torres Santana (Parque Doña Inés – Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín) has been most helpful in providing a wealth of information about rare species and species ranking in Puerto Rico. Marcos Caraballo Ortiz (Pennsylvania State University) and José Mari Mut graciously provided additional botanical information for inclusion in the database.
We would like to thank a number of individuals for getting the website to a stage where it could be reviewed. In particular, we thank Leif Gann-Matzen, web designer extraordinaire, for his assistance in modernizing and expanding the website, Cara Abbott from IRC for data entry and logistics, Barbara Shapiro for data entry and image handling, and Salvador Rassi for assisting Christina Stocking in her monumental task of processing synonyms, misapplied names and other critical tasks. We thank Rafael Trelles for permitting us to use his illustration inspired by Agustín Stahl in our banner (center photo) and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo for sharing the photograph of the manuscript of the Botánica Antillana by Ana Roqué (left photo). Many photographs in Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico are shared with the Floristic Inventory of South Florida and other IRC databases, and we thank the many photographic contributors from those sources. In addition, we thank the following photographers who contributed directly to this project: Rosimar Rivera (University of Puerto Rico), Magha García (Jardín Pachamama), Thrity Vakil (Casas de la Selva) and Marcos Caraballo Ortiz (Pennsylvania State University). While all the imperfections are ours and ours alone, we would like to thank all of the reviewers who provided us comments, new ideas and corrections: Marcos Caraballo Ortiz, Anne Frances (NatureServe), Magha García, Bruce Holst (Marie Selby Botanical Garden), Jimmy Lange (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden), Humfredo Marcano Vega (IITF), José Mari Mut, José Sustache (DNER), Jennifer Possley (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden) and Christian Torres Santana (Parque Doña Inés, Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín). We also thank the members of our Facebook page, Friends of Plants of Puerto Rico, for their input at some key points in the development of the website.
Finally, we would like to thank Christian Torres Santana for his assistance with the logistics of our launch, and Parque Doña Inés, Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín for being our hosts.
As we see it, the launching of the Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico website is a starting point, not a final product. The current website is enough to provide unique and novel information for many species and the flora as a whole, and provides considerable insight into the Puerto Rican flora and its conservation status. However, it is only a base. The website and the database that supports it needs to be fed additional information on a continuous basis, from other databases, from formal publications, and from the observations and photographic documentation of users. We have already accumulated many recent or unpublished personal records for many species, and you should expect to see continuous changes and additions to the website. But we need more information, and the resources to process it, to make the website really function as it is intended.
The advancement of the project will require funding and cooperation from individuals, private organizations and public agencies. Through the construction and public launching of the website, IRC has planted a seed. We hope that you will join us in cultivating this free public resource, so that we can treasure, conserve and restore the plants of the island of Puerto Rico together.
George Gann and J. Carlos Trejo-Torres