Brazil, with a surface area of approximately 8 500 00
sq km, holds nearly 15% of the world's biological diversity in
its biomass. Since the establishment of the first national park
in 1937, the nationwide conservation policy has significantly
expanded environmental preservation areas. Today Brazil has 123
conservation units at Federal level, covering a total of 20 920 945
ha, not enough to ensure the preservation of the landscapes and
species in their natural habitat, since this area amounts to only
1.7% of the country's territory.
In this setting, and in view of their nature and
function, botanic gardens hold already a prominent position, although
lagging behind both in number and physical area. At present Brazil
has 15 botanic gardens actually established, covering an area
of 843 ha, half of which is accounted for by the Rio de Janeiro
and Brasilia Botanic Gardens. In addition to their core areas,
seven botanic gardens have associated natural areas which together
cover 40 452 ha.
Because of the diversity of the country's ecosystems
and the small number of botanic gardens, these institutions fail
to cover a significant share of the national landscape and biota.
In the north there is only one botanic garden, in the capital
city of Belem, that gives priority to the conservation of Amazonian
plants. Also in the north east there is only one botanic garden
set in an Atlantic Forest area, and its priorities are the conservation
of Northeastern Atlantic Forest native species. There is no botanic
garden in the Atlantic Forest area dealing with the conservation
of northeastern semi-arid plants. In the middlewest we
find one of the largest Brazilian botanic gardens, set up in the
savannahs, whose major activities are the study and conservation
of savannah species. There is still no similar institution in
the Pantanal (swampland) area.
Nine botanic gardens are located in the Brazilian
southeast, three in the savannahs and six in Atlantic Forest areas,
the latter focusing their activities on germplasm collection,
breeding, conservation and managing Atlantic Forest species.
In the south, we find three botanic gardens concentrating their
activities in the southern areas and in subtropical forests.
Preface | Contents List | Congress Report | Workshop Conclusions | List of Authors