The biodiversity of Southeast Asia has been a focus of research at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for many years. This research has taken the form of collaboration on most of the major Southeast Asian Flora projects, joint fieldwork with botanists from many Southeast Asian countries, and general floristic surveys and inventories for many parts of the region. In recent years botanists from RBGE have collected specimens for the herbarium and the living collection from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua new Guinea. These activities have been conducted in collaboration with scientists from these countries and have often been conducted in response to the training needs of local students and staff of botanical institutions.
As many of the historical herbarium collections and access to literature are concentrated in European institutions, as well as the greater resources available to build up expertise on Asian plants, collaboration on the major Southeast Asian Flora projects from RBGE botanists is vital to ensure our understanding of biodiversity in this region progresses. The major Flora projects in the region are the Flora of Thailand, the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, Flora Malesiana, the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam (FCLV), and the Flora of Peninsular Malaysia. RBGE botanists have provided floristic accounts to all of these projects. In addition the expertise of RBGE botanists is valued by their participaton on the Editorial Boards of the Flora of Thailand, FCLV and Flora Malesiana.