The Orchids of Thailand: Their Taxonomy and Conservation Biology

 

Initiated in October 2002, this project is expected to continue until the Flora of Thailand orchid volume has been completed. It relies on a sequence of research permits from the National Research Council of Thailand to Henrik Æ. Pedersen who conducts the project together with a permanent Thai collaborator, currently Somran Suddee, and shifting co-authors. Until now, the Augustinus Foundation and the Carlsberg Foundation have been particularly important funding bodies.

The primary objective is to strengthen the taxonomic backbone of Thai orchid conservation through the preparation and coordination of the Flora of Thailand orchid volume – and through the preparation of separate papers on related topics. Clearly, an informative, transparent and operational up-to-date classification is crucial for any red-listing activity or science-based conservation strategy. The Flora of Thailand orchid volume represents the third complete revision of the Thai orchid flora (the previous revisions being from 1959–1965 and 1975–1988). It will consist of six parts, of which the first two were published in 2011 and 2014. These parts alone have involved ten authors from six countries.

The secondary objective is to collect and analyze field data on aspects directly concerned with the conservation biology of Thai orchids. Now and then, primarily Flora-related field trips to various parts of Thailand provide opportunities to gather biological and ecological data on selected orchid species (or to initiate separate autecological studies). These data are subsequently being analyzed and published to present new knowledge of substrate requirements, demography, pollination biology, patterns of fruit set and seed dispersal strategies etc. The species studied until now include nationally red-listed ones such as Epipactis flava and all three species of Sirindhornia.

 

Contact: Dr. H. Æ. Pedersen, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen