HISTORICAL OCCURRENCE OF HERBARIUM DATA AS A TOOL FOR AN OVERVIEW OF PLANT SPECIES DISTRIBUTION IN CAMEROON
The major sources of historical data in the current time are from herbaria, museums, literature, and renowned databases such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The challenge in assembling data from Cameroon is the lack of a database accessible to the public and researchers. The aim of this write up was to publish a review of the annotated flora list of Cameroon based on data from GBIF. This will help local and international scientists and researchers to have a better overview and understanding of the floristic diversity, and distribution in order to guide policy management and planning future field trips on the country flora. To achieve this, data were downloaded from GBIF (www.gbif.org), and some received from Naturalis through a JRS funded project. An aggregation of a unique database was established from these sources of information. Description of occurrences of species was created, data in Microsoft Excel files were cleaned using Google Refine and arranged in different variables. The analysis was carried out in ArcGIS and QGIS. This comprises 174,429 records with accompanying label information and some with images. In summary, 150,778 records were obtained from GBIF. These botanical collections were made in Cameroon within 1841–2016 by approximately 413 collectors. In total 249 plant families, 1657 genera, and 5810 species were recorded in Cameroon. This dataset is a tool in representing the occurrence and distribution of ancient and recent collections into detailed maps.