Biodiversity in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest came under the spotlight February 10th, when a workshop celebrated 10 years of research work in this ecological hotspot, was held jointly by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).
The workshop gathered renowned scientists in the fields of biogeography, climatology, geology, ecology and evolution to describe how recent advances in these disciplines improve the documentation of diversity patterns in the Atlantic forest and enhance our understanding of their underlying processes.
The BIOTA programme is sponsored by FAPESP. Participants discussed novel ways to integrate data and identify transdisciplinary studies that can further biodiversity prediction and protection in the region.
Since 1999 BIOTA has been cataloguing diversity across six major biomes or habitat zones; it involves 1,200 researchers and international partnerships with bodies including Britain’s NERC (Natural Environment Research Council.) BIOTA has published online information about more than 1,800 new species it has discovered, as well as over 1,000 scientific papers from the R$80 million UK £25 million (EUR 31million) programme.
FAPESP’s BIOTA director, Professor Carlos Joly has deep understanding of the effects of public policy on conservation, biodiversity and sustainable use of the environment. He has been instrumental in presenting science to help change local laws and public policy in São Paulo state. (These include agro-environmental zoning for the state’s sugar-alcohol industry and the drafting of legal controls on environmental degradation).
Workshop Dimensions US-BIOTA São Paulo: A multidisciplinary framework for biodiversity prediction in the Brazilian Atlantic forest hotspot – February 10th – 2014.