OOS 42-3 - BIOTA + 10: Learning lessons from a successful experience in combining biodiversity research with capacity building in a megadiverse country

Thursday, August 9, 2012: 8:40 AM
C124, Oregon Convention Center
Carlos Joly, Department of Plant Biology, State University of Campinas/UNICAMP

We describe an ongoing research program, BIOTA/FAPESP (www.biota.org.br), in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, that may be a useful example of how to translate knowledge into public policies and bridge the gap between scientist and policy makers. Although better known for its economic development, producing 1/3 of Brazil’s GNP, 40% of the country’s exports and hosting 1/5 of its population (≈ 42 million inhabitants in an area similar to UK in size), the State of Sao Paulo is also extremely reach in terms of species diversity (for example, it hosts at least 7,200 species of Phanerogams). 


Between 2006 and 2008, BIOTA-FAPESP researchers made a concerted effort to synthesize data for use in public-policy-making. Scientists worked with the State Secretary of the Environment and NGOs to produce, based on more than 151,000 records of 9,405 species, as well as landscape structural parameters and biological indices from over 92,000 fragments of native vegetation, two synthesis maps, identifying priority areas for biodiversity conservation and restoration. These maps, together with the book with detailed information, was adopted by the State Government, to improve and/or create new legislation, including new protected areas, the agro-ecological zoning of sugar cane expansion and the list of 180 native tree species to be used in gallery forest restoration. There are now 19 legal instruments that quote the BIOTA-FAPESP guidelines. Considering these results, together with the high productivity in papers published (> 900) and human resources trained (169 MSc, 108 PhD and 79 Pos Docs), over 10 years, in 2009 the State of São Paulo Research Foundation/FAPESP renewed, for another 10 years, its 2.5 to 3.0 US$ millions/year support, aiming to prolong and enhance the rewards of a coordinated research investment that combines biodiversity research, personnel training, bioprospection and public-policy impact