Philippe MORAT & Porter P. LOWRY II
The floras of southern Africa (22,000 species) and Mediterranean Africa (6,000 species) are comparatively well known and have been the subject of many recent treatments; however, numerous gaps still exist in our understanding of the flora of tropical Africa (25,000 species). Certain regions are not covered by any of the current flora or inventory projects, whereas others are inaccessible for political reasons. Data on the floristic richness of the countries and regions in the Africa-Madagascar area are updated. Using the example of Madagascar, the density index is re-evaluated, showing that the values previously presented are underestimates. Most of the current floras and other large projects are progressing very slowly because of political instability in the areas concerned, lack of sufficient funding, and especially a shortage of qualified taxonomists. Several checklists are being prepared using modern computer technology, which now makes it possible to envision both a global checklist for the entire Africa-Madagascar area, and a General Flora of Tropical Africa similar to the Flora Neotropica, as suggested by LÉonard in 1975.