Small Collections Grant

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From the Amazon to society: accessibility and disclosure of HSTM Herbarium, a strategic Amazonian collection

Leandro Lacerda Giacomin


Digitally image, Process backlog, Conserve, Other

Cost: $



Universidade Federal do Oeste do Para


Main objective: To make the HSTM Herbarium, a collection located nearby at huge botanical knowledge gap, accessible to researchers, decision makers and the general public, through proper storage, conservation and dissemination of high-resolution images of its specimens.
Specific goals:
- To process a backlog of at least 2000 specimens, by mounting, imaging and accommodating them properly;
- To restore and/or recover specimens eventually damaged by inappropriate storage;
- To generate high-resolution images of at least 7000 specimens and make them publicly available, improving accessibility


In 2014 the HSTM herbarium was fully restored, when it used to harbour about 5000 specimens, mainly in newspapers. In 2015-16, the collection was mounted, partly accommodated in cabinets and databased, and data was made available through our website ( and other platforms (e.g. speciesLink and Reflora). Since then the collection more than double its size to ca. 12,800 specimens, due to collecting efforts of the curators and students to document gaps of botanical knowledge in Amazonia. This rapid growth was unsustainable and due to lack of resources, some specimens were stored in plastic boxes, and could not be maid available to the public. However, efforts made by the staff led to the generation of 3690 high-resolution images, now available online. The goal of this proposal is to make the HSTM fully available to the public, by accommodating all specimens in proper cabinets, and generating at least 7000 images to fully digitize the collection. To store the specimens properly, two steel cabinets are required, which would accommodate the current collection and allow another year of growth, considering a 5-year growth rate. The HSTM has the required photographic equipment, and therefore only the resources to support personnel is needed to digitize the remainder of the collection. Furthermore, while processing specimens from the backlog, any damaged or unmounted specimen will be restored and properly mounted prior to imaging, freezing and storage.


Imaging of specimens can begin as soon as the personnel cost is funded, as the specimens and equipment are currently available. The digitization of 7000 specimens’ is expected to be achieved in four months with one part-time personnel, such as a trained undergraduate biology student. We expect that at least 500 specimens can be digitized per week, achieving the goal in 14 to 16 weeks, as some specimens might need to be barcoded or restored. In concert, custom designed cabinets will be ordered, and the processing of specimens will follow the sequence of: i) imaging; ii) freezing; and iii) storage. The proper storage and organisation of the collection will be followed up by the curators (Drs. Thais Almeida and Leandro Giacomin) and the full process is expected to be achieve in a maximum of 6 months. The HSTM herbarium is a unique collection, the only one in a 500 km radius, quite far from other research centres. Its maintenance and disclosure to the public is fundamental to scientific regional development, but also to diminish gaps of botanical knowledge in areas such mid and lower Tapajós basin, subsidising a better knowledge of the Amazonian flora.

Referee 1:

Rafaela Campostrini Forzza

Referee 2:

Christian Bräuchler

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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