Meise Botanic Garden (MeiseBG) plays a pivotal role in Flanders, acting as a coordinator for the DiSSCo Flanders project and serving as a crucial link towards the DiSSCo Research Infrastructure. The institution has extensive expertise in both physical and digital collection management. With a collection of approximately 4 million preserved items, including 3.5 million herbarium sheets and 500,000 fungi collections, Meise BG stands as a global repository for biodiversity.
Within its 92-hectare outdoor and indoor living collections, MeiseBG proudly maintains over 25,000 diverse accessions, notably encompassing crucial crop wild relatives such as those from the coffee and banana families, which hold significant economic value. The Garden’s seed bank safeguards more than 6,600 accessions, specifically focusing on preserving endangered Belgian flora, the endemic species of the Copper Hills in Katanga, and a distinct assortment of wild beans and bananas. Additionally, the institution houses nearly 10,000 DNA extracts, supporting its comprehensive molecular research initiatives.
Notably, MeiseBG is actively engaged in the comprehensive digitization of its entire herbarium collection, whose progress is transparently accessible through the Botanical Collections website (https://www.botanicalcollections.be/). Moreover, the institution actively invites the public to contribute to the enrichment of their data through the crowdsourcing platform DoeDat (https://www.doedat.be/).
The staff at MeiseBG has expertise in Biodiversity Information Standards and actively participates as a dedicated member of TDWG, showcasing their commitment to advancing biodiversity knowledge and conservation efforts.