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Kew contributes to the Brazilian Catalogue of Plants and Fungi

Kew’s information resources on plant diversity have helped to compile a working list of all plants, algae and fungi in Brazil.

Launch of the Brazilian Catalogue of Plants and Fungi at the 61st Brazilian Botanical Conference in Manaus in September 2010 (Image: Lista do Brasil)

Long acknowledged as one of the megadiverse countries and world leader in floristic diversity, Brazil lacked until recently a list of its described plant, algal and fungal diversity. Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, calling for a working list of all the world’s plant species to be compiled by 2010, stimulated scientists in Brazil to start the ‘Lista do Brasil’ in late 2008.

A purpose-built web-based information system compiled 90,000 names collated from existing checklists (including extracts from Kew’s World Checklist series), and regional and taxonomic treatments. This list was reviewed and refined online by 413 taxonomists in a dynamic and comprehensive one-year effort. The resulting list of 40,989 species of algae, fungi and plants, of which 46.2% are endemic to Brazil, was released online in July 2010. Brazil is the most diverse country in the world in terms of its vascular plants (32,364 species), with documented diversity greater than might be predicted by comparison with other megadiverse countries, even allowing for its exceptionally large area.

The Brazilian checklist reveals that 46.2% of plants and fungi are endemic to Brazil, including this narrowly endemic Lychnophora humillima (Asteraceae), first found by Riedel in 1826 and rediscovered during recent field trips to Minas Gerais (Image: W. Milliken)

The two-volume Brazilian Catalogue of Plants and Fungi (Forzza et al. 2010) was launched at the 61st Brazilian Botanical Conference in Manaus (5-10 September 2010) and is a snapshot of current knowledge of Brazilian plant diversity. The editor of the list, Dr Rafaela Forzza (Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro) received a Bentham-Moxon grant to visit Kew in order to finalize details of the introductory chapters with collaborators Eimear Nic Lughadha and Daniela Zappi. With about 200 new species being described every year, the hard copy version will soon be outdated, but Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden will continue to coordinate the updating of the web version, providing yearly releases of the checklist online.

Item from Dr Daniela Zappi (Assistant Keeper for Regional Teams, HLAA, Kew)
Originally published in Kew Scientist, issue 38

Article references:
Forzza, R.C. et al. (2010).  Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro.

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3 May 2011
It is a mayor effort in orden to understand the importance of biodiversity and the consequences of its possible lost
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