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Biota of North America Project (BONAP)

Website: http://bonap.org/

The Biota of North America Project (BONAP) is a non-profit organization that has undertaken the project of recording the distribution of all plants in North America.

BONAP maintains the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA) which was published in 2014. NAPA contains county-level distribution maps of most plant species recorded in North America. In most cases these maps have greater accuracy than those published by the USDA, and represent the most detailed *and* most accurate range maps for plants in the USA, available anywhere on the web. BONAP also maintains a Taxonomic Data Center (TDC) which not only connects with the range maps, but also has additional resources to help track taxonomic changes, particularly the changes that have been made from the USDA's treatment to BONAP's treatment.

The maps address many of the specific shortcomings of the USDA's maps, including listing additional populations of plants not recorded by the USDA, and introducing the distinction between plants native to a certain locality in North America but introduced or adventive in others, a distinction the USDA almost never makes. Other limitations however persist, including under-reported county-level data for the state of Maryland (improved, but not fully addressed) and lacking anything finer than province-level data for Canada.

The taxonomic backbone used by BONAP is also much more up-to-date than that used by the USDA, although on average it tends to be less cutting edge than Plants of the World Online (POWO). Although we usually defer to POWO's treatment, there are some cases where we have found BONAP's treatment to make more sense.

We link each of our plant articles to BONAP's county-level range map when such a map exists. Besides the maps there is additional information available on BONAP's website, including a map key on how to interpret the maps.

Although in an overwhelming majority of cases, the entry on our site corresponds to BONAP's entry in a one-to-one way, there are a few taxa where what we refer to by a particular name (such as a species) might refer to a taxon BONAP refers to in a different way, such as a species with a different name and/or a subspecies or variety. In these cases we have linked our records to the record that most closely corresponds to the same taxon or population.

The organization also maintains a botanical garden in Chapel Hill, NC. The garden is generally closed to the public, except for scheduled tours.

Overall, BONAP is an impressive resource and is one of the key resources for researching plant distribution, especially in the lower 48 US states.