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Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research

Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (ANPWS) through the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) through its Division of Plant Industry (DPI) for the joint management of the Australian National Herbarium and the establishment of a Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research.

Recognising their common interests in research to improve knowledge and understanding of Australia's plant diversity, its use and sustainable management, the ANPWS and CSIRO agree to jointly develop and manage a Centre which aims to:

  • develop and manage scientific collections as a permanent record of Australian plant diversity and as a resource for research on Australian and related floras;

  • conduct research in plant systematics, horticulture and conservation biology on vascular plants, non-vascular plants and fungi to provide a basis for sustainable management and use of Australian vegetation; and

  • provide a national focus for and play a coordinating role in national botanical data management.

The Centre will combine the current activities of the two herbaria at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (CBG) and the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry (CANB) to operate as a single national collection, the Australian National Herbarium (ANH) which will take responsibility for coordination and collaboration with other Herbaria, particularly those of the States and Territories. The intimate links between the herbarium and the living collections at the ANBG will be retained so that the scientific credibility and value of that collection is enhanced and verification of the identity of the living specimens continues to be provided.

Research by the Centre in plant systematics will contribute to a better understanding of the origins and relationships of Australia's flora and to the Flora program of the Australian Biological Resources Study. Horticultural studies will be developed to examine the potential commercial use of native species. The Centre will continue the collaborative work between ANPWS and CSIRO on rare and threatened plants, working in collaboration with other researchers and State and Territory conservation agencies to maintain data on endangered flora. Other projects in conservation biology including remnant vegetation, fire ecology and genetic diversity studies, will contribute to the conservation and sustainable management of Australian flora.

The Centre will take responsibility for the coordination, maintenance and updating of important national botanical databases developed by the ANPWS and CSIRO, including the Australian Plant Name Index and the Census of Australian Vascular Plants. It will take an active role in the development of national and international standards for botanical data exchange through involvement in such projects and organisations as the national Herbarium Information Standards and Protocols for the Interchange of Data (HISPID), the Taxonomic Databases Working Group of the International Union of Biological Sciences and the International Organisation for Plant Information World Vascular Plant Checklist project.

The Centre will be established with existing facilities made available by the ANPWS and CSIRO. Its activities will be financed by contributions from the parent organisations and will actively seek external funding for research and other projects within its ambit. It will be managed by a Board consisting of two representatives from each organisation and an independent chair. Staff will be seconded to the Centre but will remain subject to the terms and conditions of employment of their parent organisation.

The Parties agree that they will use their best endeavours to enter into an agreement in relation to the establishment and operation of the Centre on terms not inconsistent with this Memorandum.

Signed on the 3rd day of February 1993.

Chief Executive ANPWS, Chief Executive CSIRO

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Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research

Updated 15 November, 1999 by Andrew Lyne
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