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Brazil's online database of plant species hits 94,141 taxa

8 February 2011

Brazil, as party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has assumed a number of commitments before the international community. Among these commitments is the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), that aims to facilitate consensus and synergy at the global, national, regional and local levels to promote knowledge and conservation of plants. Of the 16 global targets set by the GSPC for 2010, the first is the development of " a widely accessible working list of known plant species, as a step towards a complete world flora".

In order to reach that target, the Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro was designated by the Ministry of Environment through the Centro Nacional de Conservação da Flora (CNCFlora) to coordinate and organize Brazil’s working list of known plant species "Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil".

In September 2008 a meeting was held at the Botanical Garden with 17 taxonomists from different institutions throughout Brazil. This meeting established the organizing committee and the coordinators of each taxonomic group and determined the information that should be provided for each taxon.

The first step consisted in integrating the lists already published or made available by experts in the different groups (see the original sources link in the upper right hand corner of this page). All these data were merged into the system developed by CRIA. After merging existing lists, experts (indicated by the coordinator of the family or group) received a password so that they could, through the Internet, add new data or correct those existing in the system.

To be able to achieve the CBD’s goal and that of the botanical community in Brazil, a great collective effort was necessary. During 2009 more than 400 taxonomists (see links coordinators and collaborators in the right corner of this page) worked on a single database and generated the results that are now available. The system today holds 94,141 taxa, including accepted names and synonyms.

As of 8 February 2011, there are presented a total of 40,982 flora species, 3,608 Fungi, 3,495 Algae, 1,521 Bryophytes, 1,176 Pteridophytes, 26 Gymnosperms, and 31,156 Angiosperms.

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