Perspectives on biodiversity science in Brazil

Perspectivas das ciências da biodiversidade no Brasil

Biodiversity issues in Brazil have reached a critical point. On one hand, biodiversity science is increasing in quality and quantity, however on the other, habitat destruction in all major biomes still maintain alarmingly high rates. This paradox, from a scientific perspective, has two central tenets that scientists should focus on. First, although science related to biodiversity is of high standard in Brazil as compared to that of peers in the world, it is still not at the leading edge of research. Second, the wealth of information built up by strong research programmes, such as Biota/Fapesp - to which this special issue of Scientia Agricola is dedicated - is beginning to help decision-makers to improve precision and quality of their decisions concerning the environment, but still much is left to be done in this respect. Therefore, I discuss some of the biodiversity issues that remain controversial and demand fast scientific growth. Tackling them Brazil may finally reach the leading edge of biodiversity research. Finally, I discuss how communication between scientists and decision-makers and the general public may be improved, highlighting how a strong education project is urgently needed from kindergarten to graduate programmes in order to solve the two problems above mentioned and definitely crack the paradox biodiversity knowledge vs. biodiversity destruction.

biodiversity; global change; leading-edge science; scientific communication; scientific education

São Paulo - Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" USP/ESALQ - Scientia Agricola, Av. Pádua Dias, 11, 13418-900 Piracicaba SP Brazil, Tel.: +55 19 3429-4401 / 3429-4486, Fax: +55 19 3429-4401 - Piracicaba - SP - Brazil