Last week, Jose Maria Cardoso da Silva, CI’s Vice President for South America sent a bit of good news to staff about the launch of a new book that provides information on the biology and ranges of more than 2,200 rare plants in Brazil.
“This book is the consequence of two years of intense work by 170 scientists from 55 institutions. This effort was coordinated by CI-Brazil and Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana. This is the first effort in Brazil to understand well the plant diversity in the country as well as pinpoint priority areas for conservation using plant species as surrogates.”
From the findings, CI found that only a miniscule portion of key biodiversity areas are well-protected, “whereas all the others are under strong pressure,” and that those areas can have a significant impact on human well-being.
Plant life on the old plateaus and mountains in central-eastern Brazil is richest in the same places where the headwaters of the most important Brazilian rivers are found. “Therefore, the link between the conservation of rare species and provision of freshwater ecosystem services for most of the Brazilian population is quite strong. This study added at least 25 percent more priority areas in the previous effort by the Brazilian Government to identify the most important areas in the country for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
Thanks to the hard work of CI-Brazil staff and many partners, the book was well received by civil society, government, academia and corporate sectors.
“Civil society likes because the effort provided a strong scientific foundation on why Brazil cannot change the environmental legislation without a deep understanding of its biodiversity, government likes because this is a big contribution so that the Brazilian Government can evaluate its efforts toward the 2010 targets and improve its conservation actions, academia likes because they think this is a good example on how to organize the knowledge in a collaborative way to influence large-scale policy, and corporations like because they have, for the first time, access to a critical information that will facilitate the risk analysis of any new investment.”
The book (in Portuguese), maps and other resources are available on the project’s homepage (www.plantasraras.org.br). In its first three days, the homepage received around 7,000 visits and the book was downloaded more than 1,000 times.
Many thanks to CI-Brazil!