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Abstract Detail



Producing the Flora of North America: Lessons for Regional Floras in the 21st Century.

The Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA) is a 30-volume work that includes taxonomic treatments of all the native and naturalized plants growing in the region. All taxa are described and included in dichotomous keys, distributions of all species and infraspecific taxa are mapped, and about 20% of species are illustrated with line drawings prepared specifically for FNA. Producing FNA has created an international community of authors, reviewers and editors, integrating broad-scale taxonomic knowledge with regional floristic expertise and fostering further collaboration. The treatments synthesize current understanding of taxonomy and distribution, leading to new discoveries while highlighting numerous topics for future research. By providing keys and technical descriptions for numerous rare taxa and introduced species, FNA is a vital tool for botanists and others concerned with conserving the continent’s flora. After publishing only two volumes in the last six years, production is now increasing; two to four volumes are expected to appear in this and succeeding years. Challenges we have faced include difficulty finding experts able and willing to prepare treatments, sustaining volunteers able to edit and review treatments on a timely basis, and obtaining funds to support the professional editorial and artistic staff necessary to complete an endeavor of this scope. Visible progress has been slow because we chose to work on many volumes simultaneously and evolved an overly complicated editorial process. To address these issues, we employed a botanist to prepare treatments of “orphaned” taxa, clarified expectations of volunteers, streamlined our editorial process, and shifted to sequential volume production so our paid staff can focus on completing a few volumes at a time while authors and volunteer editors continue to work on volumes that will appear further into the future. Where possible, we have also encouraged authors to prepare their treatments as spreadsheets to speed the editorial process. Formatting for printing requires only a small proportion of the overall effort, so the lessons we have learned are relevant to the production of large, multi-author floras even if they will be published only electronically. I will also discuss the direction we hope FNA will move as we complete the printed version.

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Related Links:
Flora of North America

1 - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 S OAK ST., CHAMPAIGN, IL, 61820, USA

North America
international collaboration.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 3
Location: Salmon/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: 3005
Abstract ID:558
Candidate for Awards:None

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