Malaysian Applied Biology Journal

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45_1_01

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Malays. Appl. Biol. (2016) 45(1): 1-11

 

PLANT TAXONOMY IN MALAYSIA: AN APPRAISAL

LATIFF, A.

 

Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,

43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

 

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ABSTRACT

Malaysia has initiated, produced and launched a National Policy on Biological Diversity in 1998 which contains policy statement, principles, objectives, rationales, strategies and above all action plans of programmes. The policy places great importance on taxonomy in realising the true dimension of biodiversity in the country and that taxonomy is a cornerstone of biodiversity has long been accepted and understood. Yet, many taxonomic institutions such as National Natural History Museum and National Herbarium are not within sight. Taxonomy is not prioritised within the R & D mechanism, capacity building is not undertaken with an accepted vigour, systematic research centres are not established, school and university curricula have not addressed taxonomic curricula, proper training of taxonomists and parataxonomists are not planned, and data management is not adequately placed either. Ironically the rate of ecosystem and habitat degradation and loss, species loss and genetic erosion are occurring at a rate unsurpassed in the past. Is there any crisis in Malaysian taxonomy and plant taxonomy in particular? The taxonomic community is small and aged. The reference collections are still small, the scientific productivity in term of publication of papers to report new species, new records, taxonomic revisions, phylogenetic relationships, variations, species loss and conservation efforts are still inadequate. The floristic treatments for the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak and the Flora of Peninsular Malaysia are going-on. An attempt is made here to relate the richness of biodiversity to taxonomy so that the latter’s impediments could be properly addressed. There must be coordinated efforts to overcome the real taxonomic impediments in Malaysia.

Key words: plant taxonomy, biodiversity, flora, Malaysia

 

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