The Vanuatu national herbarium was created in Port Vila in 1986 with the following objectives:
- 1. To ensure that management measures for indigenous, unique, threatened and endangered species are in place and supported by scientific data
- 2. To Informed public on the significance of the social economic and environmental values of species conservation.
- 3. Ensure that highly migratory species are protected nationally.
- 4. To assist scientists in using the herbarium for research purposes that benefit Vanuatu.
The herbarium contains more than 13000 specimens. The main collections provenances come from Aneityum, Tanna, Erromango, Efate, Santo, Malakula, Ambrym and Vanua lava islands. The specimens collected before1971 were without duplicates in Vanuatu or were being disseminated to overseas herbaria like Bishop Museum in Hawaii, Victoria USA, Brisbane, and Kew in England, Netherlands and Museum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. However with a financial assistance from IRD (Institute de recherché et du development) of New Caledonia and a contribution from the Department of Forestry, the herbarium was relocated to the new Forestry office extension room. The new facility is fully air conditioned and can accommodate all available specimens currently plus those duplicates stored in overseas herbaria once returned.
The flora of Vanuatu has not been published yet due to the lack of funds and expertise. One of the main objectives of the Department of Forests is to have a check list of all Vanuatu flora. Actually the Department of Forests was very fortunate engaging University of the South Pacific (USP) students on part time job experiences and one of their main job was to transfer the old data with scientific names into the Herbarium database called Plant Note.
For more information on the herbarium database, click on the link below;
Department of Forests celebrated the opening of its new Herbarium
The National Herbarium of Vanuatu, at the Department of Forests, was officially opened one and half years ago on August 28, 2014, by the former Honorable Minister of Agriculture David Tosul Butulso and Counsellor of Cooperation and Cultural Action of the French Embassy Mr Philippe Liege. This happened at the end of two years of cooperation projects for the preservation and dissemination of botanical knowledge in Vanuatu.
Since 1970, Vanuatu has its own collection of dried plants; it is a memory and a reference in environmental and cultural studies on the country’s flora. This collection of about 15 000 dried plants allows for example a list of plants of Vanuatu, their distribution in the country and the common names.
In 2012, France and New Caledonia funded three projects to build a new National Herbarium, to acquire cabinets suitable for storing dried plants, to set up a database and to provide consultation online and to train young people in botany.