September 9th marks a milestone in Brian Jacob's efforts to make the park's herbarium collection available for research purposes. In earlier efforts, the herbarium collection was completed, archivally stabilized, updated with current scientific names, scanned and transferred to UNM to join other plant research collections. Beginning today, the scanned collection is available through the University of Wyoming:
The flora of Bandelier is now one of the best documented, and most current, vascular plant inventories available for any unit in the National Park Service. The completion of a Revised Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Bandelier National Monument (Jacobs 2012) represents the first significant update to the flora of the monument in the 20 years since completion of the initial Flora of Bandelier project (Jacobs, 1989). Over 50 additional taxa are documented for the monument, bringing the total from around 746 species in 1989 to 800+ in 2012. The relatively high diversity of vascular plants (800+ taxa documented for 33,000 acre area) reflects the complex topography and wide range of climatic settings available across a nearly 5000-foot elevation range from the Rio Grande at 5300-feet to the summit of Cerro Grande at 10100-feet. However over 15% of the flora is non-native reflecting the legacy of historic landuse and modern disturbances. The monuments herbarium serves the dual purpose of documenting the monuments flora, while also providing a key botanical reference in support of research and monitoring efforts.