Mon, 23rd October 2017 | Updated Thursday 27 July 2017, 09:18:58    

What plant is that? New course sets high standard for plant identification

Twenty environmentalists have just completed a two-week intensive plant identification course for forest rehabilitation.

The course focused on teaching delegates to identify plants ranging from common invasive weeds to rare endemic species.

Delegates learned how to use resources such as the Seychelles Plant Gallery (an online database for the identification of Seychelles plants).

Charles Morel, one of the experts who designed the course, explained: “Seychelles has many endemic and native plants which have mostly survived on glacis and mountain tops, but much of the forest is now dominated by introduced plants. Many people, even those working for the environment can only recognise a few plants.”

He went on to say that this course was designed for forest workers, rangers and conservation staff.

The course took delegates to many remote sites including Montagne Posée and Mare aux Cochons, to look for a wide range of introduced and native plants, taught them about plant science and how to use reference tools.

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At the end delegates were assessed based on their “reference collections” and an exam.

The pass rate was 90% and five people got distinctions. Unels Bristol, a forestry contractor, commented: “I already knew a lot of trees from the Seychelles but this was a great chance to really improve my knowledge with the best botanists in the Seychelles.”

The course was designed and led by the Plant Conservation Action group (PCA) and was funded under the Ecosystem base Adaptation to Climate Change project managed by GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit (PCU).   

James Millett, technical advisor to the project, said: “This was designed to give rehabilitation workers the skills they need to manage forests but the quality of training exceeded expectations. We are pretty confident no courses to this standard has been run in any small island nation and it’s a model that can be used elsewhere.”

For more information see http://www.seychellesplantgallery.com/gallery.html.

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