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Island of Disappearing Flora

China’s Hainan Island nurtures an estimated 13,500 plant species, including this graceful orchid Arundina stenopetala. But the unique plants of this biodiversity hot spot are under pressure from a sprawling human population, deforestation, and invasive weeds. Biflora, a new taxonomic database sponsored by Bicoll Biotechnology of Shanghai and the German Investment and Development Company (DEG), aims to document the island’s little-known and imperiled plants for researchers, teachers, and decision-makers. The site has just sprouted and offers a handful of species accounts so far, mainly written by Chinese scientists, with more to come.

PDF-Download Science, Volume 301, page 1449

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