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How Rich is the Flora of Brazilian Cerrados?

A. A. J. F. Castro, F. R. Martins, J. Y. Tamashiro and G. J. Shepherd
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 86, No. 1 (Winter, 1999), pp. 192-224
DOI: 10.2307/2666220
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2666220
Page Count: 33
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How Rich is the Flora of Brazilian Cerrados?
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Abstract

An attempt is made to summarize what is known about the richness of the total terrestrial angiosperm flora of the "cerrados" (as a complex of formations) in Brazil, based on published surveys and species lists. A "refined" list of arboreal and shrubby species was compiled from a total of 145 individual lists from 78 localities, taking into account synonymy and recent taxonomic changes. The refined list had 1709 references to taxonomic entities at the species level (973 identified with confidence and 31 with aff. or ef.), 572 references to generic entities (363 genera identified with confidence), and 210 references to the family level (88 families identified with confidence). There are many unidentified arboreal and shrubby taxa at the specific, generic, and family levels, indicating that a considerable amount of taxonomic research remains to be done on the cerrado flora, and that this flora may be much richer than is generally assumed. Depending on the assumptions made, these data suggest a total of around 1000 to 2000 arboreal and shrubby species and 2000 to 5000 herbaceous ones, yielding estimates for the total cerrado flora (terrestrial angiosperms) ranging from 3000 to 7000 species. These limits, especially the upper one, are dubious, but give an idea of the magnitude of the angiosperm flora in the Brazilian cerrados. Surveys of cerrados are very unevenly distributed, and studies of relatively unknown sites may reveal much more diversity than that presently known.

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