EXHIBITS: Mapping an Asian Biodiversity Hot Spot

Science  06 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5625, pp. 1483
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5625.1483a

South-central China and eastern Tibet shelter more plant species than almost any place on Earth, including a beautiful Osbeckia crinita flower. Between 1924 and 1927, the American botanist and explorer Joseph Rock (1884-1962) trekked through the area and nabbed specimens of more than 20,000 plants and 1000 birds. This site from Harvard's Arnold Arboretum is a portal to the university's trove of documents and photos about Rock's expedition.

You can track Rock's progress on his hand-drawn maps, browse a selection of his letters, and read published papers by him and others describing the specimen haul. A search feature lets you summon hundreds of original black-and-white photos from the expedition that capture the area's spectacular gorges and vegetation. A linked site describes recent Arboretum expeditions to the plant-rich region, which is threatened by deforestation and erosion.

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