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Botanical Tour in Pakistan

Botanical Tour in PakistanRecharge and others have reviewed the history of botanical exploration in Pakistan fairly extensively. Starting in 1820 with an expedition to Kashmir by William Moorcroft, many European (mainly British) botanists visited Pakistan, eventually collecting plants from virtually all parts of the country. The coverage was modest in the mountainous areas in the north, inhabited by often-hostile tribes and naturally inhospitable as the nexus of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan ranges. The results of these collecting activities contributed to the two great floras of the region, the Flora Orientalis (Boissier 1867-1888) and the Flora of British India (Hooker 1872-1897). Collecting continued in the early twentieth century, rendering much of those great 19th century floras out-of-date. One important aspect about the collections made in Pakistan prior to the country's establishment in 1947 is that virtually all of them were housed either in Europe (mainly BM, E, and K) or in India, at Calcutta or Dehra Dun, in both cases inaccessible to botanists in Pakistan (Stewart, 1972). The largest plant collection in Pakistan in 1947 was that developed by Ralph Stewart at Gordon College in Rawalpindi.

Botanical Tour in PakistanA comprehensive and accessible flora of this region is essential to our understanding of the plants of south Asia generally, and will be particularly useful in relation to floristic projects such as the Flora of China, the Flora Malesiana, and ongoing work in India and in the central Asian region. Many local Floras exist for parts of Pakistan (Stewart 1982), but these have been superseded by the Flora of Pakistan. The Flora of Afghanistan (Kitamura 1960) is actually a synoptical checklist in format, covering the results of expeditions to the Karakoram and Hindu Kush by Japanese botanists in 1955. A later report from the same expedition (Kitamura 1964) enumerated plants from the part of the region in Pakistan. This region where the Western Himalayas meet the Karakorams and the Hindu Kush in northern Pakistan and the northern Baluchistan region are rich in endemic plants, and many genera of agricultural and horticultural importance occur in Pakistan, yet our knowledge of them and access to information about them is limited at the present time.

Botanical Tour in PakistanTo intrepid hikers in the know, Kledang Range's route "49" is an interesting trekking trail that passes uncharted territory and peculiar rainforest hoodoos. Take heart, we know the turf like the back our hands. The most gratifying part of the trail is learning and making personal connection with a jungle that has been around for 130 million years. We will safely lead you over root-rutted terrain, small streams and hillside. Since tall forest canopies provide relief from the tropical sun and we take as many breaks as you want along the way, make your ascend slow and blend into the forest. Kledang's best kept secret will soon become yours as well.

In 1999, at the XVI International Botanical Congress, S.I. Ali (University of Karachi and principal editor of the Flora of Pakistan) proposed a plan to Peter H. Raven (Missouri Botanical Garden) for completing the Flora in five years with the Missouri Botanical Garden as co-publisher. Following negotiations, in February 2000, the University of Karachi and the Missouri Botanical Garden signed an agreement to co-publish the remaining volumes of the Flora of Pakistan over a period of five years. This initiative has several strong positive features:
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