Plant Taxonomic Database Standards
No. 2. World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, ed. 2.
R. K. Brummitt with assistance from F. Pando, S. Hollis, N. A. Brummitt
and others. 2001. xv, 137 pp.; 17 maps. Stiff paper cover, $10.00. ISBN
This scheme meets the need for a standard yet adaptable system of
geographical units for use in recording plant distributions and
arranging specimens. Because a purely political arrangement cannot meet
all the needs of botanists, the scheme's arrangement compromises between a
politically and a phytogeographically oriented system. It identifies
geographic units worldwide in a four-level hierarchy, incorporating
continents, regions, provinces and countries. Each geographical unit at
each level has its own numeric or alphanumeric code. The scheme is
presented in five tables, the recognized geographical units are shown in
17 maps, and a gazetteer relates over 2,100 names to the overall system.
The second edition comes some nine years after the first, and,
inevitably includes some changes. Although the need for stability has
been a major consideration, political realignments have forced new
concepts. Some of these have necessitated changes at national level, such
as the segregation of Eritrea from Ethiopia and division of Czechoslovakia
into Czech Republic and Slovakia. Others are due to the recognition of
new administrative units within larger countries, such as Nunavut in
Canada, Uttaranchal in India and Chongqing in China. A few changes also
have been made in order to make better phytogeographical sense, such as
the separation of all Himalayan states from the main body of India, and
the uniting of New Guinea and the Solomons to form Papuasia. Others are
merely a matter of nomenclature brought about by political name changes.
All innovations in the second edition are tabulated to assist database
managers in adapting to the new edition.
Ms. Scarlett T. Townsend
Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Web site: http://huntbot.andrew.cmu.edu