A new online database for local flora or plant species in the country is now made available through the National Herbarium and Botanical Garden. Known as the ‘Plant Information System’ it keeps detail records and information of plants, including types, scientific names, location of origin and location or where to find in the country.
The program is developed by Solomon IT Solutions together with Information Communication Technology Support Unit (ICTSU) of the Solomon Islands Government in partnership with, National Herbarium and Botanical Garden (NHBG). An initiative dubbed by Forestry Permanent Secretary, Vaeno Vigulu as another milestone achievement in availing information of plant species of Solomon Islands to the Ministry staff, line ministries, interested parties and stakeholders. “That dream to improve the rapid access to the plants of Solomon Islands is now being achieved.” “Information of plants will now be on your fingertips with less time incurred to find information on whatever interested plant species,” he said. Noting that, the total flora of the Solomon Islands is now estimated to be about 7,000 different species. He added today date, it is estimated that between 15 to 20% of the country’s flora is endemic and can be found nowhere in the world and there’s still more to discover and to add into the database. Mr Vigulu said previously, hard copies of plant information would be searched and it can take hours and days to locate them, considering the increasing number of the plant discoveries with collaborating botanists. This practice will now be history and replaced through this newly developed online database, he said. He acknowledged NHBG’s effort to improve information storage and dissemination this far, noting it as a step further. And although not fully developed compared to other herbaria databases, there is still room to improve overtime and space to catch up with models and systems used in other herbaria worldwide. “This is a simple beginning but a history that the Ministry has a reason to celebrate. We are moving into the computer and internet era, so as our NHBG needs to cope up with. “We are proud to showcase it,” said the Permanent Secretary. He added this is timely and within the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s (DCCG) Policy objective area which it keens to see improvement on the management and protection of the NHBG and its components. As shown in its (DCCG) commitment to fencing of the botanical garden and construction of the new home (herbarium) for the dried specimens of plants of the Solomon Islands, said the Permanent Secretary. “Approximately 30,000 dried and prescribed plant specimens transferred to the South Pacific herbarium in Suva around year 2000 will be imported back to their newly build home. Remaining work now is purchasing and arranging shelves to receive the incoming plant specimens. “And use of the new database compliments the improvement of the herbarium as specimen info soft copy can be sourced easily.”