The colonial legacy of herbaria [re: plants and fungi specimens' official collections]

Park, Daniel S., Feng, X., Akiyama, S. et al. (2023)
The colonial legacy of herbaria.
Nature Human Behaviour 7 1059–1068.
Full text available here (through Google Scholar):,5

Abstract, quotation: "
Herbarium collections shape our understanding of Earth’s flora and are crucial for addressing global change issues. Their formation, however, is not free from sociopolitical issues of immediate relevance. Despite increasing efforts addressing issues of representation and colonialism in natural history collections, herbaria have received comparatively less attention. While it has been noted that the majority of plant specimens are housed in the Global North, the extent and magnitude of this disparity have not been quantified. Here we examine the colonial legacy of botanical collections, analysing 85,621,930 specimen records and assessing survey responses from 92 herbarium collections across 39 countries. We find an inverse relationship between where plant diversity exists in nature and where it is housed in herbaria. Such disparities persist across physical and digital realms despite overt colonialism ending over half a century ago. We emphasize the need for acknowledging the colonial history of herbarium collections and implementing a more equitable global paradigm for their collection, curation and use.

Full list of the authors (global wide diversity of authors): "
Daniel S. Park, Xiao Feng, Shinobu Akiyama, Marlina Ardiyani, Neida Avendaño, Zoltan Barina, Blandine Bärtschi, Manuel Belgrano, Julio Betancur, Roxali Bijmoer, Ann Bogaerts, Asunción Cano, Jiří Danihelka, Arti Garg, David E. Giblin, Rajib Gogoi, Alessia Guggisberg, Marko Hyvärinen, Shelley James, Ramagwai J. Sebola, Tomoyuki Katagiri, Jonathan A. Kennedy, Tojibaev Sh. Komil, Byoungyoon Lee, Serena M. L. Lee, Donatella Magri, Rossella Marcucci, Siro Masinde, Denis Melnikov, Patrik Mráz, Wieslaw Mulenko, Paul Musili, Geoffrey Mwachala, Burrell E. Nelson, Christine Niezgoda, Carla Novoa Sepúlveda, Sylvia Orli, Alan Paton, Serge Payette, Kent D. Perkins, Maria Jimena Ponce, Heimo Rainer, L. Rasingam, Himmah Rustiami, Natalia M. Shiyan, Charlotte Sletten Bjorå, James Solomon, Fred Stauffer, Alex Sumadijaya, Mélanie Thiébaut, Barbara M. Thiers, Hiromi Tsubota, Alison Vaughan, Risto Virtanen, Timothy J. S. Whitfeld, Dianxiang Zhang, Fernando O. Zuloaga and Charles C. Davis .

—in easy reading, simpler plain English,
a synopsis of the foregoing scholarly article:

• Daniel Park
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Purdue University
Published: 2023 June 13th 1.00am AEST
Colonialism has shaped scientific plant collections around the world – here’s why that matters
The Conversation

Hi @macropneuma, the iNat forum, General specifically (here), is for starting productive conversation or resolving problems related to iNaturalist rather than posting links, copy/pasting text from elsewhere, or promoting projects/papers/etc, so I’ll close this topic.