Correspondence | Published:

Taxonomy: programmes developing in the South too

Naturevolume 440page24 (2006) | Download Citation



According to Donat Agosti in Correspondence (Nature 439, 392; 200610.1038/439392a), biodiversity data are beyond the reach of many taxonomists in the developing world. But since 1999, the State of São Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil has supported a research programme called BIOTA/ FAPESP on characterization, conservation and sustainable use of the state's biodiversity (see

In the past six years the programme, for which I am a member of the steering committee, has produced an atlas of the remnants of native vegetation, supported 75 research projects, trained about 250 post-graduate students, catalogued approximately 10,000 species and made data from 35 biological collections freely available.

In 2001, the programme launched an open-access electronic peer-reviewed journal, Biota Neotropica (, for original research on biodiversity in the neotropical region. And in 2002 the programme began a venture called BIOprospecTA (, in order to search for new compounds of economic interest.

Similar initiatives are under way in Mexico (CONABIO;, Costa Rica (INBIO; and Africa (BIOTA Africa;, showing that many developing countries are aware of their responsibilities under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Author information


  1. Department of Botany, Biology Institute, State University of Campinas, CP 6109, CEP 13083-970, Campinas/SP, Brazil

    • Carlos A. Joly


  1. Search for Carlos A. Joly in:

About this article

Publication history


Issue Date


Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing