Dear members, friends and colleagues,
Welcome to our website, and thank you for your interest in the Kurdistan Botanical Foundation (“KBF”). Although we have faced challenges due to events in the Middle East over the past few years, the Foundation has remained active and continued to grow.
In my last letter, I wrote about my concerns for the Kurdistan Region and Iraq as a whole, resulting from the extraordinary political, economic, and security challenges facing the country and neighboring Syria. Iraqi Kurdistan is no exception; it has been hit hard economically and by the war against ISIS. So many lives have been lost on many fronts during this conflict.
KBF has also been affected by the crisis of the region. We added one more research project in 2016, to survey Qaiwan mountain, approximately 15 km away from the city of Sulaimani. During eleven field trips to the mountain from March to October 2016 thousands of specimens were collected from 30 waypoints in different locations. The study will take two years to complete, followed by the publication of a field guide of the various plants. While generous investors from Sulaimani funded the initial stages of the project, unfortunately their support ended 2017, and the project is on hold for now.
During the QaraDagh mountain project, which lasted for three years, 2015-2017, approximately 8200 specimens were collected from 200 waypoints on 65 field trips to different locations. In order to avoid repetition and confusion during data collection and identification process, each species collected was given a unique number of a continuous series. We expect dozens of new species to science, and many new species to Iraq to be among the collections.
KBF has also produced a field guide for the Azmar-Goizha mountain. (The guide can be found on KBF’s website.) This included 112 species with scientific and local names as well as botanical descriptions and photographs. KBF was the first institution to conduct a full study of Azmar-Goizha mountain in 2014-2015. Seven species new to science and ten species new to flora of Iraq were discovered during the project, and the findings were published in international journals. More than 660 species were collected and the specimens are mounted and preserved at the Kurdistan Botanical Foundation Herbarium (KBFH) for those interested in studying them further. It is worth mentioning that a study of Azmar-Goizha mountain conducted more than 30 years ago concluded that there were only 59 species in the mountain. This demonstrates the importance of conducting annual, comprehensive studies and surveys of all locations in various sites that ensure the proper recording of new species.
Thank you again for visiting our website, and a special thanks to our members who support our vision and goal.
Sarbagh Salih, PhD
President of KBF