The 2017 Appeal.
Update March 2017. We have raised £383 ($468, €442) towards our goal. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.
For some time we’ve been planning to enhance our database by including more tropical plants. We know that many of you, our users, live in parts of the world where tropical plants are growing, and there are far more useful species (maybe 23,000) in the tropics, than in the temperate zone. [Some plants in our database of over 7000 plants are good for both tropical and temperate climates, and some can be used in other climate zones such as Mediterranean.]
We consulted various sources and identified 700 of the most useful tropical plants. We checked that list against those included in the ‘Global Species Matrix for Tropical Plants’ from Eric Toensmeier’s recent book The Carbon Farming Solution. (Some of you will already know of Eric Toensmeier, who is a specialist in useful perennials and their role in agroforestry systems. The subtitle of his deeply researched book is ‘A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security’.) As a result of this cross-check , we identified a further 350 plants, bringing the total for the project to an additional 1,050 plants.
We decided to complete the original 700 first. As at the end of 2016 the full dataset has been collected and checked for 233 plants and these have been uploaded to the database. We plan to have all 700 uploaded by the end of 2017.
We’ve also added a number of new features to the plant pages. These include Weed/Invasive information, Usefulness Rating and Conservation Status, and two new fields in the Admin and Plant Pages: ‘Found In’ and ‘Other Names’. This extra data is already being included in the new tropical plant additions, and eventually will be added for all plants in the database.
We started on the project in March 2016. First we had to make some changes to the database structure and create some new functionality. We then started on research and data assembly and by the end of 2016 we had a full set of information on 233 new plants. In 2016 the project cost us £l2,500, and last year we raised about half that in donations.
By the end, of 2017 we hope to complete the first phase of the project. This will involve gathering all the required information for a further 500 plants, and the Weed/Invasive additions to all 7,000 plants in the original database. We estimate that this will cost a further £15,000 (UK pounds), and to avoid dipping further into our reserves we really need to raise at least £10,000 this year. (The final tranche of additional tropical plants will be tackled in 2018, funds permitting.
We hope you agree that this is a very worthwhile project, and that it should be conducted carefully and professionally. Please support our work by making a donation.
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