JSTOR Plant Science and the Global Plants Initiative

About the Project

This project is one of the 2010 WISE Awards finalists.

JSTOR Plant Science and the Global Plants Initiative represent the collaborative efforts of over 160 botanical institutions in 50 countries on five continents to digitize and make globally available core materials on the plant type specimen, information that is critical to the preservation of biodiversity and the education of globally minded, environmentally responsible citizens.  

Context and Issue

The disappearance of large, vital areas of biodiversity represents an enormous challenge for the global community. In the world of plants, many species are in danger of extinction, threatened by pollution, climate change and habitat transformation. Scientists and students can only continue to identify new species, catalogue the destruction of species and understand changes in our ecosystems if they have access to the original type specimen, with historically fixed plant names. The United Nations has recognized the importance of this undertaking by making 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. 

Solution and Impact 

The Global Plants Initiative was formed to create the world’s first global plant list, a unique contribution to both academia and the environment that will allow the classification of all plant biodiversity. It is in the process of digitizing all type specimens from GPI partner institutions, which will account for an estimated 75% of the world’s plant biodiversity. 

This material is offered free of charge to educational institutions worldwide. Over 6,200 institutions – including universities, government research institutions and secondary schools – currently use it.

Future Developments

JSTOR Plant Science has the power to transform scientific instruction by facilitating access to the raw materials of scientific classification and discovery.

April 26, 2010 (last update 12-22-2020)