Tropical Biology and Conservation in Brazil

Leontopithecus chrysomelas (by bathyporeia)Brazil always fascinated early naturalists – many will be familiar with the writings of Darwin, Wallace, Roosevelt, von Humboldt, and Descourtilz describing their formative experiences in this vast and exuberant country. But unknown to many is that the formal cataloguing and study of Brazil’s natural history by the residents of this land dates to before it had even declared independence from Portugal, with the founding by King Dom João VI of the National Museum in 1818. Brazil continues to be an inspiration to contemporary biologists, resulting in a sophisticated literature advancing our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary factors structuring tropical ecosystems, documenting threats to their persistence, and describing innovative strategies for their conservation. With the eyes of the world on Brazil it prepares to host the world’s most widely viewed sporting event – the 2014 FIFA World Cup – we’ve put together  a Virtual Issue of Biotropica articles that highlight Brazil’s unique ecosystems and biodiversity, the myriad research approaches used to understand and conserve them, and the diversity of scholars engaged in this critical research. You’ll find work from the Amazon and Atlantic Forest, of course, but we hope those of you less familiar with Brazil will take advantage of the opportunity to read about lesser known biomes like the Caatinga, Araucaria Forests, and the Cerrado.

Thank you to the authors for generously agreeing to be part of this issue, and also to bathyporeia for the picture of the Golden-headed lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysomelas).