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Old 07-08-2008, 12:09 PM
njensen njensen is offline
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Default Comment from Andy Sanders, Botanist/Curator UC Riverside Herbarium

“They are essential, IMO. Besides the points you make, they are the best tool for evaluating the competence of the person/group preparing the report. Gross misidentifications (indicated by out of range species, etc.) show a group didn't know what they were doing, as does a ridiculously short species list. Many times a quick look at the attached species list will tell you that the survey was done by someone unfamiliar with the flora of CA, or that the list was copied from some general list and doesn't apply to the site at all -- and hence calls the whole report into question as a possible fraud. Personally, I think that not only should a species list be present, but the native species should be at least 50% vouchered, and deposited in a public herbarium, so that IDs can be checked/confirmed. Biological surveys for development projects are probably the single largest expenditure of money on biodiversity issues in CA, yet much of the work is essentially wasted scientifically because there is no permanent record of the alleged findings. Vouchered records of sensitive species, for example, become part of the permanent record and contribute to future reevaluations of the taxa. Vouchers of "common" taxa can contribute to reevaluation of the taxonomy of the group and hence recognition of additional sensitive taxa not previously recognized. Reports of this or that by some unknown person (or even by you or me) are of little or no use at all for these purposes.”
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