From Plant Press, Vol. 12, No. 1 from January 2009.
The Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield (BDG), a field-based program, has sponsored collecting expeditions for all groups of organisms in all areas of the Shield. The program operates out of Guyana, the least well-known biologically of the areas of the Shield (Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, and two departments of Venezuela). From 1986 to 1998 the program maintained a resident plant collector in Guyana and organized major expeditions. The data from the resident plant collector expeditions are now available on the BDG website at https://botany.si.edu/bdg/expeditions.html.
The collecting effort has produced about 53,500 plant collections. These BDG collections, in addition to plant specimens from the US National Herbarium, make a total of more than 145,000 plant records held by the BDG Program.
Collecting expeditions to remote and unexplored areas are the primary way to document biological diversity. In these expeditions, field work resembles the legendary trips of old. Although travel is easier on both ends of the trip (e.g., airplanes) and new types of data are collected (e.g., DNA samples, GPS coordinates), the major part of field work is essentially the same as it was during the time of Humboldt (1799-1804) and Spruce (1849-1864): a lot of time is spent walking, paddling a canoe, cutting trail, dragging supplies in and out of boats, setting up camp in the rain and heat or rain and cold, and collecting and processing specimens.
In this website, information is shown about expeditions conducted by the “BDG Plant Collectors” for the program, including collection localities, trip reports, lists of collections, and images showing different aspects of field work, using Google Maps as a mapping application. Currently, data are available for Lynn Gillespie’s trips (1989-1991), and for two trips made by Karen Redden (2004-2005).