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How important is the Cerrado for global biodiversity?

Cerrado It is the largest hotspot in the Western Hemisphere, covering over 2 million km² in Brazil and smaller parts (around 1%) of Bolivia and Paraguay. The Cerrado biome is the second largest biome in South America, covering an area of 2,039,386 km², 24% of Brazil.



Recognized as a hot spot global biodiversity, the Cerrado stands out for its abundance of endemic species, housing approximately 12,070 cataloged native plant species, of which 34,9% (4,208) are endemic¹. The Cerrado contains 13.4% of all plant species in the neotropical region and 1.5% of all plant species in the world. The great diversity of habitats results in remarkable transitions between different vegetation types. A total of 251 species of mammals live in the Cerrado, along with rich avifauna, which comprises 856 species. The diversity of fish (800 species), reptiles (262 species) and amphibians (204 species) is also high. For these reasons, in biological terms, the Cerrado is considered one of the richest tropical savanna regions in the world².

Mauritia flexuosa, buriti / © Bento Viana. ISPN Collection

In addition to its environmental specificities, the Cerrado It also has great social importance. Many people depend on the natural resources that the biome offers to survive with quality of life, including indigenous groups, quilombolas, generators, riverine and babaçu coconut breakers, which are part of Brazil's historical and cultural heritage and share traditional knowledge of biodiversity. More than 220 species are known for medicinal use and many native fruits are regularly consumed by locals and sold in urban centers such as pequi (Caryocar brasiliense Cambess.), Buriti (Mauritania flexuosa Lf), mangaba (Hancornia speciosa Gomes), Cagaita (Eugenia dysenterica (Mart.) DC.), Bacupari (Salacia crassifolia (Mart. Ex Schult.) G.Don), araticum (Annona crassiflora Mart.) And baru (Dipteryx alata Vogel).

However, numerous species of plants and animals are threatened or at risk of extinction. It is estimated that 20% of native and endemic species are not protected by any of the legal protected areas and at least 339 species of animals that occur in the Cerrado are threatened with extinction, according to official lists. After the Atlantic Forest, the Cerrado is the Brazilian biome that suffered the most from human occupation. It is this combination of conditions, high biodiversity and high degree of threat from habitat loss that has made these two biomes a priority for investment in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

Despite the threats, knowledge about the biodiversity Cerrado has evolved significantly in the last decade. However, many gaps that still exist suggest the need for greater investments in inventories and studies for different biological groups³. Research shows that between 1998 and 2008, 1,300 new vertebrate species were described by scientists in Brazil4. Of these, 347 vertebrate species were found in Cerrado sites, 222 new fish species, 40 amphibians, 57 reptiles and 27 mammals. These revealing numbers reinforce the colossal biological relevance of the Cerrado.

Merganser / © Marcelo Ismar Santana. Amada Terra Institute Collection

With these data we have no doubt about the biological importance from the Cerrado. The size of this hotspot, the complexity of its environmental heterogeneity, the high levels of species endemism and the imminent threats pose a major challenge regarding the conservation of its biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as the promotion of more sustainable development in the region. , including inhabitants living in close contact with nature.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF, in English for Critical Ecosystem Partnership FundIt has been working since 2000 to ensure the participation and contribution of civil society in the conservation of some of the world's biologically rich but currently threatened ecosystems. The goal is to promote conservation in high priority biological areas and on a landscape scale. In 2013, the the CEPF Donor Council selected the Cerrado as one of the priority hotspots Priorities for conservation promotion investments between 2016 and 2021. To ensure that the CEPF strategy has a significant impact on biodiversity conservation in the hotspot, some investments focus on certain priority species and regions. In this sense, CEPF Cerrado works with a specific support line for the protection of threatened species in the hotspot, where six priority species among the 1,593 considered vulnerable or irreplaceable species were selected for investments. Learn about the species and projects that work to support their protection and conservation in the Cerrado:

Class Family Species Project
Magnoliopside Cactaceae Uebelmannia buiningii Ecology and recovery of Uebelmannia buiningiiJurumi Institute
Magnoliopside Fabaceae Dimorphandra wilsonii (wilson's faveiro) Handling and protection of wilson's faveiro – Society of Friends of the Belo Horizonte Zoo-Botanic Foundation
Birds Columbidae Columbina cyanopis (Plateau Roller) Saving the plateau roller and its unique habitat in the CerradoSAVE Brasil
Birds Thraupidae Sporophila maximiliani (pointed) Reintroduction of bicudo in key areas for the conservation of the CerradoAriramba Institute
Birds Anatidae Mergus octosetaceus (Merganser) Avoiding the Merganser Extinction Amada Terra Institute
Amphibia Hylidae Phyllomedusa / Pithecopus ayeaye Conservation of Pithecopus ayeaye, related species and their ecosystemsAraguaia Institute


Columbina cyanopis, Plateau Roller / © Ciro Albano. SAVE Brazil Collection

For the Cerrado, these six species which are highly threatened globally and have a National Action Plan (PAN), or are part of a regional, have been prioritized for CEPF investments. Through coordination with the National Action Plan Support Groups (GAPANs), priority actions established in the NAPs related to these priority species were identified. CEPF funding has also sought to support the implementation of these actions, especially those related to habitat management and protection. CEPF Cerrado's main objective is to improve the conservation status of these species.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund CEPF Cerrado it's the International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB) work to contribute to the protection of these species and the conservation of the Cerrado by supporting projects in different regions of the biome. This support provides incentives for expansion and creation of protected areas, protection of endangered species, support for restoration and environmental monitoring, among others. The goal is to promote conservation in high priority biological areas and on a landscape scale. From this perspective, CEPF identifies and supports a regional approach, involving a wide range of public and private institutions to address conservation needs through coordinated efforts. CEPF is a joint program of the French Agency for Development, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the Government of Japan and the World Bank to provide funding for the protection of unique and endangered ecosystems - known. also as priority hotspots of biodiversity.

Learn more about our actions in the Cerrado in http://cepfcerrado.iieb.org.br/lista-projetos/!

Text taken from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. 2017. Ecosystem profile: Cerrado biodiversity hotspot. Org. Sawyer, D. et al., Brasilia, DF: Supernova.


ORFORZZA, RC et al. New Brazilian floristic list highlights conservation challenges. Bioscience, Oxford, v. 62, p. 39-45, 2012.

²MITTERMEIER, RA et al. Hotspots revisited: Earth's biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions. Washington, DC: Cemex, 2004.

³ SON-SON, J. et al. Evolution of knowledge and conservation of the Brazilian Cerrado. In: DINIZ, IR et al. (Org.). Cerrado: quantitative scientific knowledge as a subsidy for conservation actions. Brasilia: Thesaurus, 2010. p. 13-31.

4CAVALCANTI, RB et al. Thick. In: SCARANO, FR et al. (Org.). Brazilian biomes: portraits of a plural country. Rio de Janeiro: House of the Word; CI, 2012. p. 56-91.


Endemic tree of Cerrado miner engages society in favor of conservation

New specimen of Wilson's faveiro found during a field visit of the project in Minas Gerais.

The faveiro-by wilson, whose scientific name is Dimorphandra wilsonii Rizzinifamily legumes (Fabaceae), it's kind threatened “Critically Endangered” category. She is endemic from the central region of Minas Gerais, in the transition from the Cerrado to the Atlantic Forest, that is, it does not exist anywhere else in the world. Being so rare, the faveiro-de-Wilson is protected by Decree Law 43904/2004 of Minas Gerais. Wilson's faveiro has come close to extinction due to the destruction of the region's forests, especially in the last 60 years. So far just over 300 trees have been found in the wild, and most of them are isolated in the middle of pastures, where they have great difficulty reproducing. Wilson's faveiro trees can also be found in capoeiras and woods, both in the lowlands and on the slopes and tops of the hill *. (* Text taken from the website of the Society of Friends of the Belo Horizonte Zoo-Botanic Foundation)

The project & #8220; Handling and Protection of the Wilson's faveiro & #8221; is executed by Society of Friends of the Belo Horizonte Zoo-Botanical Foundation and receives support from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) It's from Brazilian International Institute of Education (IEB). The project started in November 2017 and already has several ongoing actions, including meetings, training and visits to areas of occurrence of the species, working in an extension of 5,215 km², where are the 18 municipalities of faveiro occurrence. & #8220; Project execution in the region has provided, in addition to increasing knowledge, increased environmental awareness and greater engagement in protecting the environment among local people & #8221; reports Fernando Fernades, researcher and project leader. In the last visits for data collection, five new specimens of the species were discovered.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Belo Horizonte Zoo-Botanic Foundation Friends Society's work with the faveiro-de-wilson species!


The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.



Project promotes conservation actions of the faveiro-de-Wilson

The wilson's faveiro has been studied, monitored and protected since 2003 by the faveiro-de-wilson Conservation Program. Currently, the native population is reduced to less than 300 adult individuals in the wild, largely due to habitat destruction. The project Handling and protection of the Wilson's faveiro (Dimorphanda wilsonii), performed by Society of Friends of the Belo Horizonte Zoobotany Foundation, aims to increase the protection of this species and its habitat through the implementation of actions of its National Action Plan (PAN), working on conservation and awareness through community engagement.
The 2nd Wilson's Faveiro Encounter was held last May, in the City Hall of Maravilhas-MG. At the time, 20 rural owners who have the species in their properties were gathered and other collaborators that help in its search and conservation. Fernando Fernandes, project leader, gave a presentation about faveiro and the research and conservation work that the Society has been doing in the region.
See more in the video below: