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We produced estimates of the total number of species currently known and the total numbers predicted to occur in Brazil. Lists of species recorded in Brazil were obtained from specialists and the literature. For taxa lacking information on total known species, we produced estimates based on bootstrap resampling from a set of 87 taxa with checklists for Brazil and the world. The estimated proportion of Brazilian species was 9.5% of the world total (95% CI, 8.5 to 11.5%). From this we estimated a known Brazilian biota of 170,000 to 210,000 species. We used a similar procedure to estimate Brazil's total biota-known plus undiscovered. Based on 17 relatively well-known taxa, the average Brazilian share in the world's biota was estimated at 13.1% (CI 10.0 to 17.6%). Accordingly we estimated the country's total biota at 1.8 million species (CI 1.4 to 2.4 million). Given that the Neotropics is the least-studied major region of the world, these figures are still likely to be underestimates and hence may be taken as a lower bound of the actual proportion of the world's species that occur in Brazil. Scientists, policy makers, and citizens will find these numbers useful in appreciating the magnitude of the tasks involved in surveying, describing, and conserving the country's biota. The numbers also bring proposals and priorities into a more realistic perspective.
Conservation Biology © 2005 Wiley