Dr Tarciso C C Leão

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Modeller

Tarciso Leao profile

Ecosystem Stewardship


Spatial Analysis and Data Science


Plant ecology, macroecology, conservation science, statistical analyses, species extinction risk, tropical forests, Brazil.

I am a plant ecologist and conservation scientist with expertise in statistical analyses and macroecology of tropical plants. I have worked with plant ecology and conservation since my BSc in Biological Sciences at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil. As a conservation researcher, I partnered with environmental NGOs (Cepan, Amane, Conservation International), the government and the private sector on projects related to forest restoration, invasive species and floristic inventories. During my PhD in Conservation Sciences at the University of Minnesota, USA, I gained a global perspective of conservation and developed advanced statistical skills while focusing on analyses at macro scales.

My research at Kew has typically focused on factors affecting plant species’ geographic range size and extinction risk. Following Kew’s new Science Strategy, my work is progressively shifting to conservation analyses at the ecosystem level. My goal is to improve our understanding of tropical plants’ vulnerability to extinction and to support Kew’s initiatives on ecosystem-level assessments as part of the Spatial Analysis and Data Science team. I am interested in questions such as: (i) Which species are vulnerable to extinction and why? (ii) Which ecosystems are more vulnerable to collapse and why? (iii) What explains plant species’ geographic range size? (iv) How do we classify, map and assess ecosystems?

If you are interested in collaboration, MSc/PhD supervision or have any questions, please get in touch.

  • PhD Conservation Sciences, University of Minnesota, 2018
  • MSc Plant Biology, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, 2011
  • BSc Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, 2008

Leão, T., Reich, P., & Lughadha, E. N. (2022).

The geographic range size and vulnerability to extinction of epiphytes in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil.

Authorea Preprints.

Leão, T., Lughadha, E.N. & Reich, P.B. (2020).

Evolutionary patterns in the geographic range size of Atlantic Forest plants.


Nic Lughadha, E, Bachman, SP, Leão, T, et al. (2020)

Extinction risk and threats to plants and fungi.

Plants, People, Planet. 2: 389– 408.

Leão, T, Fonseca, C.R., Peres, C.A. & Tabarelli, M. (2014).

Predicting Extinction Risk of Brazilian Atlantic Forest Angiosperms.

Conservation Biology 8: 1349–1359.

Leão, T, Reinhardt, J. R., Nic Lughadha, E., & Reich, P. B. (2021).

Projected impacts of climate and land use changes on the habitat of Atlantic Forest plants in Brazil.

Global Ecology and Biogeography, 30, 2016– 2028.

Walker, B. E., Leão, T. , Bachman, S. P., Lucas, E., & Lughadha, E. N. (2023).

Evidence-based guidelines for automated conservation assessments of plant species.

Conservation Biology, 37, e13992.

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Tarciso Leão


Tarciso Leão