RAINBIO: A mega-database of tropical African vascular plants distributions

Gilles Dauby*, Rainer Zaiss, Anne Blach-Overgaard, Luís Catarino, Theo Damen, Vincent Deblauwe, Steven Dessein, John Dransfield, Vincent Droissart, Maria Cristina Duarte, Henry Engledow, Geoffrey Fadeur, Rui Figueira, Roy E. Gereau, Olivier J. Hardy, David J. Harris, Janneke de Heij, Steven Janssens, Yannick Klomberg, Alexandra C. LeyBarbara A. Mackinder, Pierre Meerts, Jeike L. van de Poel, Bonaventure Sonké, Marc S.M. Sosef, Tariq Stévart, Piet Stoffelen, Jens Christian Svenning, Pierre Sepulchre, Xander van der Burgt, Jan J. Wieringa, Thomas L.P. Couvreur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


The tropical vegetation of Africa is characterized by high levels of species diversity but is undergoing important shifts in response to ongoing climate change and increasing anthropogenic pressures. Although our knowledge of plant species distribution patterns in the African tropics has been improving over the years, it remains limited. Here we present RAINBIO, a unique comprehensive mega-database of georeferenced records for vascular plants in continental tropical Africa. The geographic focus of the database is the region south of the Sahel and north of Southern Africa, and the majority of data originate from tropical forest regions. RAINBIO is a compilation of 13 datasets either publicly available or personal ones. Numerous in depth data quality checks, automatic and manual via several African flora experts, were undertaken for georeferencing, standardization of taxonomic names and identification and merging of duplicated records. The resulting RAINBIO data allows exploration and extraction of distribution data for 25,356 native tropical African vascular plant species, which represents ca. 89% of all known plant species in the area of interest. Habit information is also provided for 91% of these species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Biodiversity assessment
  • Cultivated species
  • Digitization
  • Georeferencing
  • Habit
  • Herbarium specimens
  • Native species
  • Taxonomic backbone
  • Tropical forests


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  • RAINBIO : A mega-database of tropical African vascular plants distributions

    Dauby, G. (Creator), Zaiss, R. (Creator), Blach-Overgaard, A. (Creator), Catarino, L. (Creator), Damen, T. H. J. (Creator), Deblauwe, V. (Creator), Dessein, S. (Creator), Dransfield, J. (Creator), Droissart, V. (Creator), Duarte, M. C. (Creator), Engledow, H. (Creator), Fadeur, G. (Creator), Figueira, R. (Creator), Gereau, R. E. (Creator), Hardy, O. J. (Creator), Harris, D. J. (Creator), De Heij, J. (Creator), Janssens, S. (Creator), Klomberg, Y. (Creator), Ley, A. C. (Creator), Mackinder, B. A. (Creator), Meerts, P. (Creator), van de Poel, J. (Creator), Sonké, B. (Creator), Sosef, M. S. M. (Creator), Stévart, T. (Creator), Stoffelen, P. (Creator), Svenning, J. C. (Creator), Sepulchre, P. (Creator), Van Der Burgt, X. (Creator), Wieringa, J. J. (Creator) & Couvreur, T. L. P. (Creator), CESAB, 7 Nov 2016


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