A National Science Foundation
The NSF Biological Reseach Collections program is providing nearly $500,000 to support the digitization of Louisiana's herbaria and development of the CyberFlora Louisiana website over a three-year period. Additional support was received from the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund through an enhancement grant.
The Louisiana herbaria are members of the South East Regional Network of Expertise and Collections (SERNEC), an active network of the 215 herbaria in the Southeast. Developing efficient networks between herbaria is a similar challenge for the entire country. As SERNEC develops a networked database of the entire region, Louisiana will serve as a model to determine what obstacles remain in utilizing this technology among small, medium, and large collections.
A virtual collection of plant information for the state could increase interest in plant sciences, leading to a greater appreciation of the importance of plants and their conservation.