Cover image for Plant identification : creating user-friendly field guides for biodiversity management
Plant identification : creating user-friendly field guides for biodiversity management
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People and plants conservation series
Publication Information:
London : Earthscan, 2006
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PSZ JB 30000010156081 QK97.5 L38 2006 Open Access Book

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An important prerequisite for successful conservation is a good understanding of what we seek to conserve. Nowhere is this more the case than in the fight to protect plant biodiversity, which is threatened by human activity in many regions worldwide. This book is written in the belief that tools that enable more people to understand biodiversity can not only aid protection efforts but also contribute to rural livelihoods. Among the most important of those tools is the field guide. Plant Identification provides potential authors of field guides with practical advice about all aspects of producing user-friendly guides which help to identify plants for the purposes of conservation, sustainable use, participatory monitoring or greater appreciation of biodiversity. The book draws on both scientific and participatory processes, supported by the experience of contributors from across the tropics. It presents a core process for producing a field guide, setting out key steps, options and techniques available to the authors of a guide and, through illustration, helps authors choose methods and media appropriate to their context.

Author Notes

Anna Lawrence leads the Human Ecology Research Programme at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute
William Hawthorne is a freelance tropical forest botanist and ecologist, and a senior research associate in the Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

People and plants naturally intersect on the pages of a field guide. This groundbreaking text by Lawrence and Hawthorne (both, Oxford Univ.) demonstrates this principle and will help many naturalists create really good field guides for years to come. A comprehensive guide to such a complex topic is long overdue. The authors begin with a discussion of the political potential of a field guide to improve the natural environment, and conclude with the details of illustrations, intellectual property, publishing, usability tests, and the characters most suitable for use in a field guide. Innumerable samples include drawings, color photos, and case studies from the tropics. Although the emphasis is on static print guides, the authors also discuss a variety of dynamic electronic guides with surprising thoroughness. They give a great deal of attention to the topic of getting feedback from users, including a nice flow chart that shows how various steps work together, e.g., design and format. Structurally, however, the text is difficult to follow, with its multiple inset boxes, tables, and case studies. But the authors' insightful analysis of what goes into making a great field guide outweighs the awkward organization of the text. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above. T. Johnson formerly, Arizona State University

Table of Contents

Anna Lawrence and William HawthorneAnna Lawrence and Patricia NorrishAnna Lawrence and Ana Paula Lopes Ferreira and Maria Theresa Stradmann and Israel Vargas and Claudia Jordan and Marcelino Lima and Patricia Norrish and Sarah Gillett and Teonildes NunesWilliam Hawthorne and Stephen HarrisWilliam HawthorneWilliam HawthorneAnna LawrenceWilliam Hawthorne and Rosemary WiseAnna Lawrence and Pat Norrish and Maria Theresa Stradmann and Israel Vargas and Edwin Magarinos and Jorge Costa and Claudia Jordan and Teonildes NunesAnna Lawrence
List of plates, figures, tables and boxesp. ix
List of case studiesp. xiii
People and Plants partnersp. xiv
Acknowledgementsp. xv
1 Identifying biodiversity: Why do we need field guides?p. 1
Introductionp. 1
How do we 'know' nature? Classifying, naming and recognizingp. 2
Field guidesp. 3
How to use this bookp. 5
2 Producing a successful guide: Principles, purpose, people and processp. 11
What makes a successful guide?p. 11
Purposep. 11
Principlesp. 12
Peoplep. 14
Processp. 15
3 Planning and budgetingp. 23
Introductionp. 23
Step 1 Identify the needs and purpose of the guide with the stakeholdersp. 24
Methods for consultingp. 34
Step 2 Review the scope in relation to available resourcesp. 41
Step 3 Prepare an action plan and agreements with stakeholdersp. 53
Summary: Checklist of questions for the planning stagep. 56
4 Plant names and botanical publicationp. 61
Introductionp. 61
Naming, identification and classificationp. 61
The spectrum of botanical literaturep. 71
Landmarks in the spectrum of field guides todayp. 77
Your field guide within the spectrum of typesp. 87
5 Identification: Keys and other access methodsp. 91
Introductionp. 91
Types of guide: Types of accessp. 95
Choosing access methods and the medium for your field guidep. 117
Conclusionsp. 119
6 Plant characters suitable for field guidesp. 121
Introductionp. 121
Characters of younger stems and leavesp. 126
Characters of whole plants or plant populationsp. 138
Conclusionsp. 149
7 Information: Finding it and presenting itp. 151
Introductionp. 151
Kinds of informationp. 151
Managing information in a databasep. 152
Nomenclaturep. 153
Selecting, sampling and recording your sources of informationp. 156
Primary data: Information direct from peoplep. 158
Secondary sources: Information from existing documented sourcesp. 169
Ownership, intellectual property rights and copyrightp. 173
Accuracy and reliabilityp. 174
Writingp. 176
8 Illustrationp. 183
Introductionp. 183
The content of a picture: Some general principlesp. 183
The options for illustrative materialp. 191
Use of computers for handling illustrationsp. 204
Conclusions: Choosing and using imageryp. 211
9 Testing the field guidep. 215
Introductionp. 215
Overview of the testing processp. 216
Methodologyp. 218
Organizing workshops for testingp. 223
Preparing materials for testingp. 229
Documentation: Instructions and forms for the testp. 232
Using the results of tests and workshopsp. 234
10 Publishing the field guidep. 235
Introductionp. 235
Choosing a publisherp. 236
Do-it-yourself publicationp. 237
Desktop publishingp. 238
Finalizing contentp. 240
Printingp. 240
Getting your guide to the usersp. 242
Follow-up: Tracking the success of your field guidep. 244
List of acronyms and abbreviationsp. 249
Referencesp. 251
Indexp. 261