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Botanic records from the forest reserves of south west Ghana: Plant species distribution data with checklist and conservation assessments from 114 vegetation plots

Cite this dataset

Marshall, Cicely et al. (2023). Botanic records from the forest reserves of south west Ghana: Plant species distribution data with checklist and conservation assessments from 114 vegetation plots [Dataset]. Dryad.


South west Ghana is a biodiversity hotspot within the western African lowland tropical rainforest region, supporting many endemic and restricted range plant species. This dataset comprises botanic records from five forest reserves of south west Ghana (Ankasa, Boi Tano, Tano Nimri, Jema Assemkron, Nini Suhein). Vascular plant species distribution data (12,232 records) from 114 vegetation plot samples are presented, surveyed between 1981 and 2015. A plant species checklist including conservation assessments for each species is included. Nomenclature is current as of 2016. The dataset is linked to the publication Marshall et al, 2023, Implications for conservation assessment from flux in the botanical record over 20 years in south west Ghana, Ecology and Evolution The dataset is also used in Marshall et al, 2022, Predictors of plant endemism in two west African forest hotspots, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10:980660


27 field samples were enumerated in 2015, which were compiled with 87 botanic samples from the region from four earlier surveys (references below). The combined dataset contains 12,232 records of 931 taxa identified to species level, from 114 samples. The 114 sample locations were situated in order to capture variation in forest type, condition and geography across the five forest reserves (Ankasa, Boi Tano, Tano Nimri, Jema Assemkron, Nini Suhein), as all the surveys had as their primary goal the purpose of baselining or inventorying the forest reserves. All records were converted to their currently accepted name (current as of 2016), following the African Plants Database (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève and South African National Biodiversity Institute Pretoria, 2016 With the exception of the Hall & Swaine 1981 A plots, which were 25 x 25 m samples of the vascular flora, and B plots (the first 30–60 vascular plant species encountered) (Hall and Swaine, 1981), all samples were conducted using the Rapid Botanic Survey (RBS) method (Hawthorne and Marshall, 2016). RBS samples were bounded by survey effort rather than size, with the aim of recording all vascular plant species within a specified vegetation type and landscape unit, and enumerating at least 40 individual canopy trees. Identification and fieldwork was carried out by JD, MM, CM, and WH, with assistance at the University of Ghana herbarium (GC) from PE. Specimens were collected of all plants for which identification was not absolutely certain, these are housed at the Daubeny herbarium, Oxford. Permission to collect and export plants was obtained from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Samartex, and the Wildlife Division for Ankasa RR.

5 samples from: Hall, J.B., Swaine, M.D., 1981. Distribution and ecology of vascular plants in a tropical rainforest. Forest vegetation in Ghana. The Hague, Nertherlands: Junk Publishers. Reproduced with kind permission from M. Swaine.

18 samples from: Hawthorne, W. D., and Abu-Juam, M. (1995). Forest Protection in Ghana. IUCN/ODA/Forest Department Republic of Ghana, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK, xvii + 203.

55 samples from: Hawthorne, W. D. (1998). Plants in Ankasa, Nini-Suhien, and Bia.Review of existing knowledge, results from a new survey and recommendations for management plans. Protected Areas Development Programme, Western Region, Ghana. ULG Consultants LTD in association with S. A. Agrer, N.V.

6 samples from: Hawthorne, W. D. (2002). Final report of the floral survey of the Biodiversity Component of the NRMP. Forestry Commission, Biodiversity Conservation Component. Ministry of Lands and Forestry, Ghana.

Hawthorne, W.D., Marshall, C.A.M., 2016. A manual for Rapid Botanic Survey (RBS) and measurement of vegetation bioquality.

Usage notes

Microsoft Excel/Open Office


University of Oxford

University of Cambridge

University of Oxford

Overseas Development Agency