Small Collections Grant

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Botanical collections of plants and fungi to improve the collections at the National Herbarium of Rwanda (NHR)

Raymond Umazekabiri



Cost: $



University of Rwanda/Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management


The objectives of this project are: 1) conduct surveys for plant and fungi samples in Rwanda; 2) restore damaged or missing specimens in the National Herbarium of Rwanda (NHR); and 3) curate the collection (15,000 specimens) for digitization. The herbarium was neglected and partly destroyed during the 1994 genocide. This project will: 1) improve NHR to support research, education and conservation in Rwanda and the region and 2) document current plant and fungal diversity in Rwanda’s revitalized national parks and key areas outside parks. Funds will enable updated surveys to improve specimens.


The incorporation of new specimens in National Herbarium of Rwanda requires fieldwork. The collection of specimens will be done in different ecological zones of Rwanda including the four protected areas (Nyungwe, Akagera, Volcano and Gishwati-Mukura National Parks), and non-protected natural ecosystems (wetlands, forest fragments) and cultivated ecosystems. The four national parks are surrounded by human-dominated mostly agricultural landscapes interspersed with wetlands, riparian zones, hedgerows and forest fragments. We will work with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in order to obtain permits to sample in national parks. District managers will be consulted to sample in the areas outside the national parks. We will work with park managers, district leaders and botanists for accessibility and identification of specimens. We will work with local climbers to access plant material in the canopy as needed. Students from botany and conservation option at the University of Rwanda will be involved for capacity building and field assistance to the project and also to increase awareness of the herbarium and its importance. Currently, many of the undergraduate thesis projects require the deposition of voucher specimens. Research projects in the national parks plant collections, and therefore, there is always a student on a project, somewhere, collecting plants. Furthermore, we will work with the herbarium at Karisoke Research Center for further collaboration.


April, 2020: Purchasing of field materials; Contact project partners; Permits requisition from RDB
May, 2020: Surveys and specimen collections in Akagera National Park (ANP)
June, 2020: Surveys and specimen collection in Volcanoes National Park (VNP)
July, 2020: Surveys and specimen collection in non-protected natural ecosystem and cultivated ecosystem
August, 2020: Surveys and specimen collection in Nyungwe National Park (NNP)
September to October, 2020: Mounting collected specimens, enter them in database and place them into cabinets
November to December, 2020: Creation of web portal

Referee 1:

Prof Beth A. Kaplin

Referee 2:

Prof Elias Bizuru

Scoring Rubric

Your name:

Collection Improvement/Maintenance


1.  Contribution to the generation of digital herbarium data (digitization: data entry, setting up database structure, purchasing equipment).

2.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (processing of backlog).

3.  Contribution to enhancing our understanding of the flora by making new herbarium specimens available (shipping endangered collection to another herbarium).

4. Contribution towards improving conservation status of specimens in herbarium (better folders, protecting covers, mounting paper, labeling, etc.).

This proposal scores:


IAPT community building


5.  Herbarium's potential for success.

6.  Perceived need, extent to which the project will benefit from IAPT funding.
7. Sharing specimens with other herbaria.

This proposal scores:


Broader Impacts

8. The project will yield durable benefits (specimens, digitized metadata, databases, websites).

9. The proposed project involves outreach/mentoring and broad dissemination.

This proposal scores:


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