Challenges and opportunities for biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Marcelo Tabarelli, Luiz Paulo Pinto, José M.C. Silva, Márcia Hirota, Lúcio Bedê

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


With endangered status and more than 8,000 endemic species, the Atlantic Forest is one of the world's 25 biodiversity hotspots. Less than 100,000 km 2 (about 7%) of the forest remains. In some areas of endemism, all that is left are immense archipelagos of tiny and widely separated forest fragments. In addition to habitat loss, other threats contributing to forest degradation include the harvesting of firewood, illegal logging, hunting, plant collecting, and invasion by alien species - all despite the legislation that exists for the forest's protection. More than 530 plants and animals occurring in the forest are now officially threatened, some at the biome level, some throughout Brazil, and some globally. Many species have not been recorded in any protected areas, indicating the need to rationalize and expand the parks system. Although conservation initiatives have increased in number and scale during the last two decades, they are still insufficient to guarantee the conservation of Atlantic Forest biodiversity. To avoid further deforestation and massive species loss in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, the challenge is to integrate the diverse regulations, public policies, new opportunities, and incentive mechanisms for forest protection and restoration and the various independent projects and programs carried out by governments and nongovernmental organizations into a single and comprehensive strategy for establishing networks of sustainable landscapes throughout the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-700
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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