Correspondence | Published:

Taxonomy: programmes developing in the South too

Nature volume 440, page 24 (02 March 2006) | Download Citation

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Sir

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 http://www.biota.org.br).

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 (http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br), for original research on biodiversity in the neotropical region. And in 2002 the programme began a venture called BIOprospecTA (http://www.bioprospecta.org.br), in order to search for new compounds of economic interest.

Similar initiatives are under way in Mexico (CONABIO; http://www.conabio.gob.mx), Costa Rica (INBIO; http://www.inbio.ac.cr) and Africa (BIOTA Africa; http://www.biota-africa.de), showing that many developing countries are aware of their responsibilities under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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

    • Carlos A. Joly

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https://doi.org/10.1038/440024c

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