Taxonomy usually refers to the theory and practice of describing, naming and classifying living things. Such work is essential for the fundamental understanding of biodiversity and its conservation. Yet the science behind delimiting the natural world into “species” is often neglected, misunderstood or even derided in some quarters.
The paper give the example of rattans of Africa, leading to the publication of a taxonomic monograph of these climbing palms. Taxonomic work of this kind is not purely an academic exercise. It is an essential basis for the conservation, development and management of the resource itself. It is important that the differences between species are clearly understood so that we know which species are of commercial importance and how they can be distinguished from other species that are not utilised and why. This knowledge is essential in order to undertake meaningful inventories of commercially important species and to be able to assess the potential of each species for cultivation and sustainable management. A structured taxonomic framework also ensures that any experimental or development work undertaken is replicable.
Via Luigi Guarino, Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research