BIOTA-FAPESP program website: www.biota.org.br
Created in March, 1999, the BIOTA-FAPESP Program (FAPESP Research Program on Biodiversity Characterization, Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use), aimed not only at discovering, mapping and analyzing the origins, diversity and distribution of the flora and fauna of the State of São Paulo, but also at evaluating the possibilities of sustainable exploitation of plants or animals with economic potential and assisting in the formulation of conservation policies on forest remnants.
The BIOTA-FAPESP Program has been called the Virtual Institute of Biodiversity owing to the form of its organization, integrating researchers from several institutions and their students. Scientists from the leading public universities in the state of São Paulo, research institutes and non-governmental organizations participate in projects to discover, map and analyze the biodiversity distributed in land and marine environments and in other ecosystems, as well as proposing alternatives and public policies to preserve it. Biota-FAPESP involves around 1,200 professionals (900 researchers and students from São Paulo, 150 collaborators from other states and 80 from abroad).
The 84 research projects supported have resulted in the identification and description of 500 new species of plants and animals, the training of 180 masters and 60 PhDs, information records on more than 12 thousand species and databases with the contents of 35 biological collections. An endeavor that can be translated into the publication of 700 articles in scientific periodicals, 20 books and two atlases. /p>
The information produced by the BIOTA-FAPESP Program (www.biota.org.br) is in databases open to the scientific community of Brazil and abroad. Standardization of the collections has made it possible to construct the Environmental Information System, SinBiota (sinbiota.cria.org.br), which registers and integrates the collections of plants or animals carried out in the State of São Paulo, with geographical coordinates of thousands of species, which may be consulted using the scientific name of the plant or animal, or the name of the collector, or the locality or date of collection.
It is also possible to see the geographical distribution of the points of collection of the species since SinBiota is laid out on a cartographic base detailing remnants of native vegetation, reforested areas with exotic species (Pinnus and Eucalyptus), conservation units, the river and road networks and the urban areas. This is the second database: the BIOTA-FAPESP Program Atlas, which incorporates the Forest Inventory of São Paulo, a survey coordinated by the Forestry Institute. Elaborated on the basis of field surveys, aerial photos and satellite images, the Inventory monitors the area occupied by remnants of native vegetation in the State of São Paulo.
Based on a larger system, Species Link (splink.cria.org.br) has accumulated 2 million records of data resulting from research activities or contained in archives of national and foreign biological collections.
Other developments of BIOTA-FAPESP are the electronic scientific magazine Biota Neotropica (www.biotaneotropica.org.br), with the relevant results of studies on biodiversity in the Neotropical region, associated or not with the Program, and the Biota Network of Bioprospection and Biotrials (BIOprospecTA – www.bipprospecta.org.br), which integrates research groups in the State of São Paulo engaged, directly or indirectly, with the prospection of new compounds of economic interest in microorganisms, macroscopic fungi, plants, invertebrates (including marine) and vertebrates.
In 2007, in conjunction with the State Ministry of the Environment, the Program produced the book Guidelines for the conservation and restoration of the State of São Paulo (launched in November 2008) and a series of maps which constitute the scientific support to orient the strategies of conservation, preservation and restoration of the native biodiversity in the State of São Paulo.