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Before human intervention, the vegetation of Puerto Rico was mostly a tall mesophytic forest, but the advent of European settlement after 1500 brought profound changes. By the end of the nineteenth century, a very large part of Puerto Rico had been denuded. However, in recent times, a significant increase in forest cover - in part by the establishment of state forests - has improved the growth opportunities for ferns. This volume is a comprehensive overview of the ferns of Puerto Rico and also the Virgin Islands, as they exist today. Included in the treatment are keys, descriptions, black and white illustrations, and distribution information.
George Richardson Proctor (1920 - ) was born July 13, 1920 in Boston, Massachusetts. He is one of the leading experts of the flora and plant systematics of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. After the Second World War Proctor began studying at the University of Pennsylvania, and to finance his studies he took an assistantship at the Herbarium of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, where he worked from 1946 to 1947. A defining event in Proctors career as a botanist in 1948 was his participation in an expedition that took him to Cuba, the Cayman Islands, San Andr‚s and Colombia. In 1949 Proctor moved to Jamaica, where he studied Fern Flora until 1951. From 1951 to 1980 he headed the Department of Natural History at the Institute of Jamaica, where he was cared for with the construction of the herbarium. From 1982 to 1983 he managed the herbarium of the Botanical Garden of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. From 1983 to 1998 he was director of the herbarium of the Puerto Rican government in San Juan. He studied the flora on more than 50 Caribbean islands and collected more than 55,000 samples to the West Indies and Central and South America. His books include: Flora of Barbados (1958); Flowering Plants of Jamaica (1972); Flora of the Cayman Islands (1984, revised edition 2012); Ferns of Jamaica (1985) and Ferns of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (1989). He created a treatise on the In the 1990s monocots Puerto Rico. Approximately 28 species of plants are named for Proctor, including the national tree of the Cayman Islands, Coccothrinaxproctorii, which was described in 1980 by Robert William Read. In 1976 he was honored for his dedicated work in Jamaica with the Musgrave Gold Medal and the Order of Merit. George R. Proctor's Author Page