Mapping Asia Plants

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2023) | Viewed by 14322

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
Interests: ecology; biodiversity informatics; biodiversity conservation; biodiversity monitoring

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Asian countries are experiencing severe threats to biodiversity-rich areas and ecosystems. Habitat loss and unsustained use of natural resources remain the largest threats to biodiversity in Asia. Developing sustainable strategies of conservation and management is vital for biodiversity research and conservation in Asia. The basic biodiversity information forms the base for policymaking. From the distribution of online data resources of global biodiversity, the plant information available in Asia is limited and scattered. In the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the biggest and the most influential network in biodiversity informatics, plant data in Asia account for less than 1% (By 1 March 2022). To date, there is no complete biodiversity database infrastructure at a continental scale in Asia. With the development of biodiversity informatics, access to plant information has become much easier than before. However, compared with progress in North America, Europe, and some other regions, knowledge of Asian plant information is still not proportional to its rich plant biodiversity. Considering some independent and joint efforts in Asia, this Special Issue will cover progresses in plant biodiversity studies at country and region level, such as plant species checklists, online datasets, literatures, and projects, aiming to contribute to understanding the status of Asian plant research.

Prof. Dr. Keping Ma
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Asian plants
  • biodiversity
  • biodiversity informatics
  • mapping plants
  • plant biodiversity
  • species checklists

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

17 pages, 2868 KiB  
Article
Alien Plants of Kyrgyzstan: The First Complete Inventory, Distributions and Main Patterns
by Alexander N. Sennikov and Georgy A. Lazkov
Plants 2024, 13(2), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13020286 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 725
Abstract
The first inventory of casual and naturalised alien plants of Kyrgyzstan is based on an overview of published data, which were re-assessed and re-evaluated using modern standards. Altogether, 151 alien species were registered in the country, of which nearly 40% became naturalised. The [...] Read more.
The first inventory of casual and naturalised alien plants of Kyrgyzstan is based on an overview of published data, which were re-assessed and re-evaluated using modern standards. Altogether, 151 alien species were registered in the country, of which nearly 40% became naturalised. The total number of alien plant species and the proportion of casual aliens are relatively low due to the harsh climatic conditions (high aridity and continentality) and predominantly high elevations. The highest number of alien plant species in Kyrgyzstan originated from the Mediterranean, which can be explained by some common climatic features between this area and Central Asia, but half of the ten most harmful aliens originated from the Americas. The intensity of plant invasions was the greatest during the period of the Russian Empire and the USSR, and this rapid accumulation of alien plants continues in independent Kyrgyzstan. The uneven distribution of alien plants in Kyrgyzstan is explained by different elevations and climatic conditions across its regions, as well as by the concentration of agricultural activities and human population along warm lowland depressions. More research is required to uncover pathways and particular times of introduction and to produce detailed distribution maps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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20 pages, 2094 KiB  
Article
The Distribution Characteristics of Vegetation in the Subrange of the Altai Mountains, Xinjiang
by Qiumei Cao, Yan Wei, Wenjun Li, Ying Feng and Ozodbek S. Abduraimov
Plants 2023, 12(22), 3915; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12223915 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 718
Abstract
The Altai Mountains are an important center of biodiversity and are a major habitat for threatened and endemic species in Asia. Moreover, the Altai Mountains are a valuable site for the study of the evolution of central Asian vegetation. The Xinjiang Altai subrange [...] Read more.
The Altai Mountains are an important center of biodiversity and are a major habitat for threatened and endemic species in Asia. Moreover, the Altai Mountains are a valuable site for the study of the evolution of central Asian vegetation. The Xinjiang Altai subrange represents the largest part of the southern Altai Mountains and has many unique plant communities. After conducting a thorough literature review and field investigation, we utilized the Chinese vegetation categorization system to identify the dominant plant communities in the Xinjiang Altai subrange and report their composition and distribution characteristics. Our results show that (1) the natural plant communities present in the Xinjiang Altai subrange can be divided into eight vegetation types, eighteen vegetation subtypes, and 50 communities. Among these, two communities—Form. Calligonum rubicundum and Form. Seriphidium borotalense-Festuca valesiaca—are present only in the Xinjiang Altai subrange. (2) The Xinjiang Altai subrange is located at the junction of three major biomes containing unique vegetation types (coniferous forest, temperate broadleaf forest, and desert). Thus, the Xinjiang Altai subrange is distinct in its staggered transition from mountainous boreal taiga to temperate desert. This research provides textual data to contextualize the cultural heritage of the Xinjiang Altai subrange and also provides a scientific basis for the protection and sustainable management of natural resources found in the Xinjiang Altai. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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15 pages, 8539 KiB  
Article
The Main Medicinal Plants in Arid Regions of Uzbekistan and Their Traditional Use in Folk Medicine
by Ozodbek S. Abduraimov, Wenjun Li, Habibullo F. Shomurodov and Ying Feng
Plants 2023, 12(16), 2950; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12162950 - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1452
Abstract
Seventy percent of the territory of Uzbekistan consists of arid regions. This situation is considered very favorable for plants adapted to a desert climate. Medicinal plants distributed in the arid regions of Uzbekistan have not been studied much. Medicinal plants are considered inexpensive, [...] Read more.
Seventy percent of the territory of Uzbekistan consists of arid regions. This situation is considered very favorable for plants adapted to a desert climate. Medicinal plants distributed in the arid regions of Uzbekistan have not been studied much. Medicinal plants are considered inexpensive, yet are vital for the lives of local residents. They play a very important role in the traditional healing of ailments. To determine the current state of medicinal plants and enhance their subsequent protection and sustainable use, it is necessary to obtain annual information on the state of their distribution, their population size, and the impact of negative factors on their populations. Based on our field studies, which were conducted during the period from 2012 to 2022 in the arid regions of Uzbekistan, we updated the checklists of the main medicinal plants used in these regions. A total of 529 medicinal species belonging to 70 families and 269 genera were identified in the study region. Several species, including Peganum harmala L., Capparis spinosa L., Ferula foetida (Bunge) Regel, Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Alhagi pseudalhagi (M. Bieb.) Desv. ex Wangerin, Lagochilus inebrians Bunge, Xanthium strumarium L., Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn., Onopordum acanthium L., Ziziphora tenuior L., and Cichorium intybus L., are spread over large areas and have been used regularly by the locals since ancient times. These species are common in saline and degraded soils in arid regions of Uzbekistan. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with tabibs (traditional doctors), elders, herders, and residents with experience in traditional healing using medicinal plants. The medicinal value of most plants was based on the interviews with representatives of the local population, which were useful for understanding traditional healing skills and customer service skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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17 pages, 7658 KiB  
Article
Mapping Asia Plants: The Threat Status and Influencing Factors of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plant Species in North Asia (Asian Russia)
by Jianhua Xue, Andrey V. Shcherbakov, Laura M. Kipriyanova, Li Zhu and Keping Ma
Plants 2023, 12(15), 2792; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12152792 - 27 Jul 2023
Viewed by 915
Abstract
In order to effectively protect rare and endangered plants, 27 provincial-level administrative regions in North Asia (the Asian part of Russia) have compiled and published local Red Data Books. In this study, the names (with synonyms) of vascular plants in the 27 provincial [...] Read more.
In order to effectively protect rare and endangered plants, 27 provincial-level administrative regions in North Asia (the Asian part of Russia) have compiled and published local Red Data Books. In this study, the names (with synonyms) of vascular plants in the 27 provincial Red Books were digitalized and merged into a database of rare and endangered vascular plants in North Asia. The purpose is to reflect the species composition, geographic distribution pattern, and protection level of these plants and their inclusion in the national Russian Red Data Book and the IUCN Red List, and provide a reference for formulating conservation strategies. The dataset has a total of 2079 species, 160 subspecies, and 53 varieties belonging to 667 genera and 143 families. It contains data on 2292 taxa, including family name, genus name, species name and synonyms, protection level, and other information. We also analyzed the main influencing factors, existing problems of rare and endangered vascular plant species, and suggestions for addressing them. We conclude that, to date, the IUCN criteria have not been applied consistently in all regions, leading to an excessive number of species being recorded in the Red Data Books of Asian Russia; specifically, one-third of all floral species are in the regional Red Data Books. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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5 pages, 216 KiB  
Communication
Developing Biodiversity Baselines to Develop and Implement Future Conservation Targets
by Alice C. Hughes
Plants 2023, 12(12), 2291; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12122291 - 12 Jun 2023
Viewed by 730
Abstract
With the recent launch of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework (GBF), and the associated monitoring framework, understanding the framework and data needed to support it is crucial. Unfortunately, whilst the monitoring framework was meant to provide key data to monitor progress towards goals [...] Read more.
With the recent launch of the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework (GBF), and the associated monitoring framework, understanding the framework and data needed to support it is crucial. Unfortunately, whilst the monitoring framework was meant to provide key data to monitor progress towards goals and targets, most indicators are too unclear for detection or marking progress. The most common datasets for this task, such as the IUCN redlist of species, have major spatial inaccuracies, and lack the temporal resolution to track progress, whilst point-based datasets lack data from many regions, in addition to species coverage. Utilising existing data will require the careful use of existing data, such as the use of inventories and projecting richness patterns, or filling data gaps before developing species-level models and assessments. As high-resolution data fall outside the scope of explicit indicators within the monitoring framework, using essential biodiversity variables within GEOBON (which are noted in the prelude of the monitoring framework) as a vehicle for data aggregation provides a mechanism for collating the necessary high-resolution data. Ultimately developing effective targets for conservation will require better species data, for which National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAPs) and novel mechanisms for data mobilisation will be necessary. Furthermore, capitalising on climate targets and climate biodiversity synergies within the GBF provides an additional means for developing meaningful targets, trying to develop urgently needed data to monitor biodiversity trends, prioritising meaningful tasks, and tracking our progress towards biodiversity targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
26 pages, 9478 KiB  
Article
Flora of Northeast Asia
by Si-Qi Wang, Xue-Yun Dong, Liang Ye, Hong-Feng Wang and Ke-Ping Ma
Plants 2023, 12(12), 2240; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12122240 - 07 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1710
Abstract
As a component of the MAP project, the study of the flora in Northeast Asia (comprising Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Northeast China, and Mongolia) convincingly underscores the indispensability of precise and comprehensive diversity data for flora research. Due to variations in the [...] Read more.
As a component of the MAP project, the study of the flora in Northeast Asia (comprising Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Northeast China, and Mongolia) convincingly underscores the indispensability of precise and comprehensive diversity data for flora research. Due to variations in the description of flora across different countries in Northeast Asia, it is essential to update our understanding of the region’s overall flora using the latest high-quality diversity data. This study employed the most recently published authoritative data from various countries to conduct a statistical analysis of 225 families, 1782 genera, and 10,514 native vascular species and infraspecific taxa in Northeast Asia. Furthermore, species distribution data were incorporated to delineate three gradients in the overall distribution pattern of plant diversity in Northeast Asia. Specifically, Japan (excluding Hokkaido) emerged as the most prolific hotspot for species, followed by the Korean Peninsula and the coastal areas of Northeast China as the second richest hotspots. Conversely, Hokkaido, inland Northeast China, and Mongolia constituted species barren spots. The formation of the diversity gradients is primarily attributed to the effects of latitude and continental gradients, with altitude and topographic factors within the gradients modulating the distribution of species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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14 pages, 6590 KiB  
Article
Simplified Genomic Data Revealing the Decline of Aleuritopteris grevilleoides Population Accompanied by the Uplift of Dry-Hot Valley in Yunnan, China
by Xue-Ying Wei, Ting Wang, Jin Zhou, Wei-Yue Sun, Dong-Mei Jin, Jian-Ying Xiang, Jian-Wen Shao and Yue-Hong Yan
Plants 2023, 12(7), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12071579 - 06 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1351
Abstract
Understanding the evolutionary history of endangered species is crucial for identifying the main reasons for species endangerment in the past and predicting the changing trends and evolutionary directions of their future distribution. In order to study the impact of environmental changes caused by [...] Read more.
Understanding the evolutionary history of endangered species is crucial for identifying the main reasons for species endangerment in the past and predicting the changing trends and evolutionary directions of their future distribution. In order to study the impact of environmental changes caused by deep valley incision after the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau on endangered species, we collected 23 samples belonging to four populations of Aleuritopteris grevilleoides, an endangered fern endemic to the dry-hot valleys (DHV) of Yunnan. Single-nucleotide variation sites (SNPs) were obtained by the genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) method, and approximately 8085 SNP loci were identified. Through the reconstruction and analysis of genetic diversity, population structure, population dynamics, evolution time, and ancestral geographical distribution, combined with geological historical events such as the formation of dry-hot valleys, this study explores the formation history, current situation, reasons for endangerment and scientifically sound measures for the protection of A. grevilleoides. In our study, A. grevilleoides had low genetic diversity (Obs_Het = 0.16, Exp_Het = 0.32, Pi = 0.33) and a high inbreeding coefficient (Fis = 0.45). The differentiation events were 0.18 Mya, 0.16 Mya, and 0.11 Mya in the A. grevilleoides and may have been related to the formation of terraces within the dry-hot valleys. The history of population dynamics results shows that the diversion of the river resulted in a small amount of gene flow between the two clades, accompanied by a rapid increase in the population at 0.8 Mya. After that, the effective population sizes of A. grevilleoides began to contract continuously due to topographic changes resulting from the continuous expansion of dry-hot valleys. In conclusion, we found that the environmental changes caused by geological events might be the main reason for the changing population size of A. grevilleoides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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13 pages, 1291 KiB  
Article
Classification of Vascular Plants in Vietnam According to Modern Classification Systems
by Ngoc A. Luu-dam, Ngan T. Lu, Thai H. Pham and Truong V. Do
Plants 2023, 12(4), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12040967 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1850
Abstract
Vietnam is extremely rich in biodiversity, with a remarkable range of habitats and more than 13,500 species of vascular plants recorded for the flora of Vietnam. This number represents about 3 to 5% of the world’s diversity of vascular plants. Over the past [...] Read more.
Vietnam is extremely rich in biodiversity, with a remarkable range of habitats and more than 13,500 species of vascular plants recorded for the flora of Vietnam. This number represents about 3 to 5% of the world’s diversity of vascular plants. Over the past 30 years, there were two important documents on the vascular plants of Vietnam published, An Illustrated Flora of Vietnam (IFV) and Checklist of Plant Species of Vietnam (CPSV). During the past half century, the advent of molecular phylogenetics has witnessed dramatic changes in the classifications of vascular plants, and some modern classification systems of vascular plants have been established, e.g., PPG I, GPG, and APG. However, the vascular plants of Vietnam have not yet been classified according to these modern classification systems. In this paper, we present the history of the classification of vascular plants in Vietnam, compare the circumscription of all families of vascular plants occurring within Vietnam in IFV, CPSV, and the modern classification systems when applicable, and summarize familial assignments of all controversial genera in the different classifications. Furthermore, we also arrange the 37 families of lycophytes and ferns occurring within Vietnam according to the latest classification system (PPG I) and the 8 families of gymnosperms according to the latest Christenhusz’s system (GPG). The 246 families of angiosperms are arranged according to the fourth edition of the latest Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG IV). These results are the foundation stones and would be helpful for future research on the flora of Vietnam and the arrangement of plant collections in Vietnamese herbaria based on the updated classifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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24 pages, 4647 KiB  
Article
Ecological and Geographical Structure of the Plant Cover of the East Asian Boreal–Nemoral Ecotone (the Lower Amur Region, Far East Russia)
by Maria V. Kryukova
Plants 2023, 12(3), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12030615 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1098
Abstract
The study of the biodiversity of vegetation cover in the context of its genesis and development is an important task. The results of these studies are the basis for the development of ecological, biogeographical, evolutionary, and sociological research, such as modelling the dynamic [...] Read more.
The study of the biodiversity of vegetation cover in the context of its genesis and development is an important task. The results of these studies are the basis for the development of ecological, biogeographical, evolutionary, and sociological research, such as modelling the dynamic processes of natural ecosystems, understanding the consequences of natural and anthropogenic changes for biodiversity, solving problems of biodiversity conservation, etc. Of particular interest from this point of view is the biodiversity of ecotones, which can serve as a model for studying the factors of the genesis of the plant cover structure in a dynamic environment. In this paper, we analyze the taxonomic structure of the flora of vascular plants and the spatial structure of the plant cover in the East Asian boreal–nemoral ecotone (of the Lower Amur region). The botanical research was conducted through the application of traditional techniques for floristic and geobotanical studies. The material for this article was drawn from over 15,000 herbarium samples and 1400 floristic and geobotanical descriptions made between 1993 and 2021 in the Lower Amur region. The analyzed flora includes 2240 species from 760 genera and 158 families, which constitute 80% of the species composition of the Russian part of the Amur River basin. The native flora comprises 1801 species from 602 genera and 152 families. The species diversity and quantitative characteristics of the natural and adventive flora of vascular plants in the Lower Amur region are comparable to those of the southern limit of the distribution of taiga ecosystems in the Holarctic. The spectrum of the leading families and genera in terms of the number of species corresponds to the geographical position of the territory (the family spectrum is led by Asteraceae, Cyperaceae, Poaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae and Polygonaceae and in the generic spectrum, Carex, Artemisia, Salix, Viola, Saxifraga, Poa and Saussurea). The specificity of the flora is determined by a combination of elements in the boreal and sub-boreal flora of East Asia. Seven floristic complexes are defined for the Lower Amur region flora: forest (41.4% of the native flora), meadow (19.2%), mire (4.1%), mountain tundra (12.5%), rocky scree (8.9%), aquatic–semiaquatic (7.8%) and floodplain–estuarine shallow (6.2%). The regularity of some floristic complexes is defined by the landscape’s ecological conditions, and the variety in the edaphic, orographic and climatic parameters within the region. The spatial structure of the plant cover of the boreal–nemoral ecotone is described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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Review

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18 pages, 1032 KiB  
Review
Mapping Asia Plants: Historical Outline and Review of Sources on Floristic Diversity in South Asia
by Cui Xiao, Zhixiang Zhang, Keping Ma and Qinwen Lin
Plants 2023, 12(8), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12081617 - 11 Apr 2023
Viewed by 2486
Abstract
South Asia, which is composed of eight countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is an important global biodiversity hotspot. As a part of the Mapping Asia Plants (MAP) project, we reviewed the history of botanical investigations, floristic [...] Read more.
South Asia, which is composed of eight countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, is an important global biodiversity hotspot. As a part of the Mapping Asia Plants (MAP) project, we reviewed the history of botanical investigations, floristic works, and publications in this region, as well as the key floras, checklists, and online databases in South Asia. The botanical survey of this region, which began during the 17th century, has two distinct phases: surveys conducted during the British India period and those conducted in the post-British period. The seven volumes of The Flora of British India are the most important contributions to flora research in South Asia because of their wider geographical coverage, which was performed by British botanists. Following on from this, different countries have launched independent floristic surveys. At the country level, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have completed, or partially completed, their flora surveys at the country level, while Maldives has not yet published its national flora survey. According to currently available information, the approximated numbers of plant taxa for each country in South Asia are as follows: Afghanistan, 5261 (vascular plants); Bangladesh, 3470 (vascular plants); Bhutan, 5985 (flowering plants); India, 21,558 (flowering plants); Maldives, 270 (common plants); Nepal, 6500 (flowering plants); Pakistan, 6000+ (vascular plants); and Sri Lanka, 4143 (flowering plants). Additionally, there are 151 books devoted to the key floras and checklists in South Asia. A total of 1.1 million digital records of specimens from this region can be found on the website of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). However, there are still major gaps and limitations—such as out-of-date publications, national floras that are mainly detailed only in local languages, massive non-digitized specimens, and the lack of a comprehensive online database or platform—which should be addressed in terms of their global applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Asia Plants)
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