Plant Diversity in the Montane forest of Pernambuco

Wayt Thomas and collaborators

The Atlantic coastal forest of Brazil is one of the most diverse and critically endangered rain forests in the world, with less than 5% of its original vegetation remaining. The journal Nature cited this region as one of the eight “hottest hotspots” on the planet. Paradoxically, our botanical knowledge of these forests, especially in northeastern Brazil, is still very poor. Within northeastern Brazil, the montane forests of Alagoas and Pernambuco are the most critically endangered.

We propose to study the remarkably diverse montane forest flora of two adjacent private forest reserves in the Serra do Urubu, in the state of Pernambuco. The two reserves are the Pedra D’Anta Reserve and the Frei Caneca Reserve and are home to all four globally endangered bird species endemic to the montane forests of Pernambuco and Alagoas (Philydor novaesi, Myrmotherula snowi, Terenura sicki, and Phylloscartes ceciliae). In addition to floristic surveys, we will also create a permanent plot in orde3r to conduct a quantitative inventory of the trees, permitting us to understand which species are common and which ones are rare. The data will also enable us to provide recommendations as to which tree species should be used in reforestation projects in the area. In addition, the same plot can be used by other biologists to study the feeding habits of the birds and other animals.