More than 25,000 species of plants, algae and fungi native to Brazil are endemic, meaning that they only exist naturally in the country. This represents 55 percent of the total number of native Brazilian species, which reaches 46,900. The data are from the study Flora of Brazil 2020, coordinated by the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro. Among the species, 32,696 are angiosperms (vascular plants that have fruit, such as palms), 23 are gymnosperms (vascular plants that do not have fruit, such as pines), 1,584 are bryophytes (i.e., mosses), 1,380 are ferns, 6,320 are fungi, and 4,972 are algae.
In addition to the 46.9 thousand native species, 680 exotic species that have been naturalized (that is, that are now naturally spread throughout the country) and 2,336 exotic plants that are cultivated have also been identified.
The study is the result of a commitment by the country to the Global Strategy for Plant Preservation (GSPC), of the United Nations (UN), and was produced with the help of almost a thousand scientists from 25 countries. In addition to the list with the species, the study brings their description, synonyms, their condition of endemism, the biomes, types of vegetation and states where they can be found.
The data are open to the public and are available on the internet. According to the study coordinator, Rafaela Campostrini Forzza, the platform is a source of information not only for botanists, but can also assist in government planning and environmental impact studies.
"One of the things that decision makers ask is: how many species are there in my state? Or how many species are there in the biome? In order to make a conservation plan for the biome, it is important to know how many species exist, how many only occur there. Are these priority areas to create conservation units?", asks Rafaela.
According to the researcher, in the last five years, an average of one species was described every day in Brazil. This shows that there are still many species to be discovered or described in the country.