In June 2023, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Herbier National de Guinee delivered the first of three vegetation survey techniques courses to be taught under a new JRS Biodiversity Foundation grant. Currently, Guinea has few local experts able to undertake accurate vegetation surveys and this hinders effective conservation and management of the country’s biodiversity rich forest habitats. The floral surveying course, adapted from a field curriculum taught to MSc students at the National Herbarium of Guinea (HNG), was taught over 6 days and included theoretical, practical and analytical components. A total of 15 forestry officers and local research staff attended the course in Nzérékoré, in the Guinée Forestiere region.
The aim of the course was to equip participants with knowledge about how to undertake vegetation surveys in the field. The course program included different surveying techniques, basic cartography and GPS use, and a segment on preparing herbarium specimens including how to correctly label and record data. Participants also learned how to record and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data from floral specimens. For the practical sessions the trainees worked in groups and were given a specific scenario to respond to. Each group presented their results at the end of the course and received feedback from the course leaders and their peers. For many of the participants, this was their first experience of surveying plant species and the skills learned were greatly appreciated. Each participant was given an A4 herbarium press to continue preparing specimens of indigenous species during their research. This course will be repeated in 2024 in other parts of Guinea.
Read more about the Royal Botanic Garden, Key grant: Enhancing Data Access to Transform Guinea’s Capacity to Identify and Protect its Threatened Plants here