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Department ofBotany

No. 177
March 1998

Editor: Jane Villa-Lobos


Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina have joined forces to protect some of the world's most endangered tropical forest. A new cross-border strategy is expected to lead to the creation of a "green" corridor among remaining fragments of the Atlantic Forest, which once rivaled the Amazon in its beauty and diversity of plants and animals.

The area, which contains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the three countries - the spectacular falls of Iguazu, covers more than a million hectares. Its environmental corridor, co-ordinated by WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature, will run from the Maracayu Forest Reserve of eastern Paraguay through the Misiones Forest region, including the neighboring national parks of Iguazu in Argentina and Iguacu in Brazil. Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the corridor will facilitate the exchange of genetic material among the rich variety of plant and animal species native to the forest.

The Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, once grew tall and rich over much of the Brazilian coast, extending inland as far as Argentina and Paraguay. Today it exists only as isolated patches totaling less than five percent of its former size. The remaining parcels are thought to be so small and fragmented that they cannot support rare tree species and such charismatic wildlife as the jaguar and the harpy eagle.

One of the best preserved transnational tracts is the Misiones region, which is home to threatened species such as the red howler monkey, the ocelot, the bush dog and the merganser duck. But efforts to preserve it have traditionally ended at national borders.

The plan is for the biological corridor to cross the Misiones area of the three nations in a mosaic of nature reserves and privately-owned lands managed for resource conservation. Though protected, much of the land policy would continue to allow sustainable use, including farming and some timber activities. This is especially critical in Paraguay, where more than 90% of all land is privately held and agricultural expansion has been a significant factor in the nation's deforestation rate, the highest in South America.

To demonstrate that human needs can be reconciled with conservation goals, some private wildlife refuges in Paraguay have been developing ecologically sound practices for the extraction of palm hearts and the production of the South American tea, yerba mate. The good news is that they also appear to be economically viable.

Independent initiatives were pioneered in the early 1990s by Paraguay's Moises Bertoni Foundation for the Conservation of Nature and by the Argentine Wildlife Foundation (Fundacion de Vida Silvestre Argentina). Their work in bringing together government officials, local community leaders and organizations, legislators and university researchers in each of their countries has been crucial to the extension of conservation activities across national borders.

WWF is helping the Misiones conservation partners to develop a management plan for the region that maximizes the care of areas under protection and minimizes the environmental damage of further development in unprotected areas. The first step will be the establishment of a 300,000-hectare reserve of protected areas, which include the Iguacu National Park in Brazil, Argentina's neighboring Iguazu National Park, and the Moises Bertoni Cultural Scientific Monument in Paraguay.


Ecuador's president, Fabian Alarcon, recently signed the Galapagos Conservation Law which provides extensive protective measures for the islands. The law expands the protected waters around the archipelago from 15 miles to 40 miles; bans industrial-scale fishing within protected waters; limits permanent resident status to Ecuadorians who have been on the islands for five years or more; approves the island's first inspection and quarantine system to combat invader species such as rats and goats; and mandates that 50% of tourist dollars support island conservation. These measures will help ensure that the unique biological diversity of the islands is preserved for future generations.


World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has published its North American Conservation Assessment which is a result of a two year study to describe 116 ecoregions of North America and to evaluate their environmental health. Each ecoregion is a relatively large area that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities based on strong similarities in climate, geology and plant species. Many of them cross state, provincial and even national borders, with some as large as entire states themselves. The study found that more than 25% of the 116 North American ecoregions are globally outstanding which means their biological diversity equals or surpasses similar regions elsewhere on earth. Among the outstanding findings of the study are: 1) the Tennessee River basin contains more species of freshwater fish (244) than any ohter temperate waters in the world; 2) parts of the Southern California coast constitute one of only five Mediterranean zones on earth. These are small land masses that, largely due to climate, account for 20% of all plant species; 3) the two richest temperate forests in the world, in terms of plant species, are the Hunan-Setzuan forests of China and the Appalachian-Blue Ridge forest of North America; and 4) two of the world's rarest regions are found in the United States - the southeastern longleaf pine forests of northern Florida and the tallgrass prairies in and around Iowa.

Unfortunately, half of the 116 regions are suffering from severe degradation. As a result, WWF has announced it will invest $10 million in the initial phases of a campaign to protect five specific U.S. regions it believes are among the most valuable and most threatened in the country. These are: the Klamath Siskiyou Forests of Oregon and Northen California; the Chihuahuan desert bordering Mexico, Texas and New Mexico; Alaska's Bering Sea; the freshwater rivers and streams of the Southeast which flow through Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia; and the Florida Everglades. For more information on the North American Assessment as well as background on the ecoregions, visit WWF's Living Legacy Web site at


The World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have finished a major analysis of the protection status of the world's forests. This has produced an unprecedented amount of data on forest location, by type, and the amount of each forest type protected in each region of the world. The new CD-rom product contains all the GIS spatial data files on forests, protected areas and ecological zones that went into the analysis. It also contains a copy of the statistical analysis with tables, figures, maps and discussions. This statistical analysis is also available to read on WCMC's Web site (

The philosophy behind the creation of the CD series is to make widely available the data that the WCMC compiles and analyzes. Access to information of this kind is vital for the scientists and decision-makers of the world, in this age of forest conversion and biodiversity decline.

The forest maps used in regional forest coverages on the CD- rom came from many different sources. The numerous varying resolutions and different forest classification systems used were harmonized by WCMC for this study into 25 distinct types, including tropical and non-tropical systems. Forest types such as "thorn forest" and categories for exotic or native species plantations were included, as well as areas with sparse tree cover.

The protected areas datasets have been drawn from the WCMC databank compiled over many years and continually updated for the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and United Nations List of Protected Areas. The spatial protected areas data used in this analysis were extracted towards the end of 1996. All records for areas designated within the IUCN categories I-IV were used in the study and are presented in GIS form on the CD. Extensive documentation is also provided.

In addition to the forest and protected areas GIS files, ecological zones files are included on the CD-rom. The spatial data cover all regions of the globe, the FAO ecofloristic zones for tropical regions and the Holdridge zones for elsewhere.

Price: US$250 (discount available for educational institutions). For further information, write to: Information Officer, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom; Tel.: (44) 1223 277314; Fax: (44) 1223 277136; E-mail:


The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is seeking a well qualified and dynamic individual who would be responsible for the development of a strong base of major donors on the West Coast of the United States for the Asia/Pacific program. The program manager will travel regularly and will supervise the Asia/Pacific region development staff in San Francisco including the communications manager and development coordinator. TNC preserves plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. Operating in the United States for the past forty years, TNC has its home office in Arlington, Virginia; the Asia/Pacific regional headquarters are in Honolulu, Hawaii. TNC's Asia/Pacific programs and offices are located in the People's Republic of China, Indonesia, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Hawaii. Applicants for the position must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience and a minimum of six years in fundraising, marketing, or other relevant communications fields. Individuals must have a willingness to work long hours and to travel often and on short notice. Experience in the Asia/Pacific region, conservation, or other not-for-profit fields and a strong commitment to the mission of TNC are required. Salary is commensurate with experience. Individuals interested in applying for this position should send a resume and cover letter to: Museum Management Consultants, Inc., 559 Pacific Avenue, Suite 8, San Francisco, CA 94133; Tel.: (415) 982-2288; Fax: (415) 982-0504; E-mail:


May 10-13. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will sponsor a conference on the conservation of biological diversity which will be held in Annapolis, Maryland. The conference will include workshops on conservation biology, social ecology, and public policy, with a focus on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. For details contact: Biological Diversity Conference 1998, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, 580 Taylor Avenue, E-1, Annapolis, Maryland 21401; Tel.: (410) 260-8540; Fax: (410) 260-8595; E- mail:; Web:

May 21-31. The Seventh International Symposium on Society and Resource Management will be held at the University of Missouri's Memorial Union in Columbia, Missouri. This conference will be of interest to those concerned with the social, economic and cultural dimensions of natural resource issues and their importance to natural resource users and managers. Registration is $210; $150 for students. For more information on registration, contact: MU Conference Office, 348 Hearnes Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211; Tel.: (573) 882-9558; Fax: (573) 882-1953; E-mail:; Web:


A directory of people interested in the study and conservation of herons and other wading birds of the Americas is being compiled. Anyone interested in being listed should contact: Luis Gonzalo Morales, Instituto Zoologia Tropical, Fac. Ciencias, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47058, Caracas 1041-A, Venezuela; Fax: 58-2-605-2204; E-mail:

The 1997-98 Directory of the Consortium of Aquariums, Universities and Zoos was published in January listing 500 people from 45 countries, including e-mail addresses. It can be purchased for $20 (US and Canada) and $30 (for other areas), by sending a check or money order (payable to C.S.U.N. Foundation) to Donna FitzRoy Hardy, California State University, Northridge, CA 91330-8255; Tel.: (818) 677-4970; Fax: (818) 677-2829; E-mail:

Fundacion Sirena, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, has developed DECA: Directory of Ecologists and Environmental Scientists of Latin America, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain. It provides a rich source of information (3,305 people) on who is doing what, where, and how in the environmental sciences in those countries. The searchable data base is available in a Windows version, to be used under any Windows platform. For orders and more information, contact: Dr. Jorge Rabinovich, Fundacion Sirena, Casilla 1395, Correo Central, (1000) Buenos Aires, Argentina; Tel./Fax: (54) (21) 71-4762; E- mail:


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Cunningham, M., Cunningham, A. and Schippmann, U. 1997. Trade in Prunus africana and the Implementation of CITES. German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 52 pp. (Overexploited African species)

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Hinrichsen, D. 1998. On a slow trip back from hell. Int. Wildlife 28(1): 36-43. (Pollution in Czech Republic)

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Howe, J., McMahon, E. and Propst, L. 1997. Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. Island Press, Covelo, California. 175 pp.

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Kenworthy, T. 1998. In desert Southwest, a vigorous species endangers a way of life. Washington Post February 1: A3. (Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, Arizona)

Kenworthy, T. 1998. Mexican wolves return to Southwest, despite ranchers' howls. Washington Post January 27: A3. (New Mexico/Arizona)

Khoshoo, T. 1998. Assessing genetic diversity in wild mega animals using non-invasive methods. Current Science 74(1): 13-14.

Khoshoo, T. 1997. Conservation of India's endangered mega animals: tiger and lion. Current Science 73(10): 830-842.

Kremen, C. 1997. Paternidad responsable: el nacimiento de Masoala. Ecotono Winter: 10-11. (Malagasy park)

Lara, A. and Fraver, S. 1997. Forest conservation in Chile: a Chilean perspective. The New Plantsman 4(4): 218-224.

Loughry, W. and McDounough, C. 1997. Survey of the Xenarthrans inhabiting Poco das Antas Biological Reserve. Edentata 3(1): 5-7. (Atlantic coastal rainforest of Brazil)

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Marsh, H., Harris, A. and Lawler, I. 1997. The sustainability of the indigenous dugong fishery in Torres Strait, Australia/Papua New Guinea. Conservation Biology 11(6): 1375-1386.

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Naumov, A. and Romanova, E. 1997. Sustainable development of Baltic agriculture: Russia. Ambio 26(7): 435-438.

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Pollard, E., Woiwod, I., Greatorex-Davies, J., Yates, T. and Welch, R. 1998. The spread of coarse grasses and changes in numbers of lepidoptera in a woodland nature reserve. Biol. Conservation 84(1): 17-24. (Monks Wood, England)

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Rivza, B. 1997. Economical, social and environmental conditions in Latvian rural areas. Ambio 26(7): 439-441.

Roberts, J., Allman, L., Beale, C., Butter, R., Crook, K. and McGough, H. 1997. CITES Orchid Checklist Volume 2. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. 312 pp.

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Salvesen, D. 1998. Manatees: supremely adapted, seriously endangered. Zoogoer 27(1): 17-23. (Florida)

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Shinneman, D. and Baker, W. 1997. Nonequilibrium dynamics between catastrophic disturbances and old-growth forests in ponderosa pine landscapes of the Black Hills. Conservation Biology 11(6): 1276-1287. (South Dakota and Wyoming)

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Sorrie, B., Van Eerden, B. and Russo, M. 1997. Noteworthy plants from Fort Bragg and Camp MacKall, North Carolina. Castanea 62(4): 239-259. (83 taxa of state and federally rare native species)

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