Northern Ontario Plant Database
History and Future of the Northern Ontario Plant Database
History of the Northern Ontario Plant Database
In April of 2001, several northern Ontario educational, government, industry, and ENGO organizations agreed to cooperate in an Upper Great Lakes Plant Biosystematic Network in order to integrate regional plant data. Funding of $125,000 over a 2-year period was secured from the Living Legacy Trust in May of 2002, with an additional contribution of $12,000 cash and $123,000 in-kind support from the original partners.
Prior to the start of this project, only the Claude Garton herbarium at Lakehead University had initiated a database of their 105,000+ specimen collection. Information from northwestern Ontario (Kenora, Rainy River, and Thunder Bay Districts) had been entered, which constitutes nearly 25% of Lakehead's vascular plant collection. Access was limited to a single computer with no internet capabilities. Collections housed at the other partner universities and government institutions in northern Ontario had not been catalogued.
Subsequent to the start of the Northern Ontario Plant Database Project, other institutions have expressed an interest in contributing northern Ontario data from their herbaria, including Laurentian University, Nipissing University, and the University of Toronto. To accomplish this, funds will be sought to employ students for data entry and collections to fill information gaps.
It is also the intent of the partners to expand the Northern Ontario database to include bryophyte, lichen, and fungal collections. However, the mandate of our current grant only funds the gathering of data from vascular plant collections.