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A checklist of Lecythidaceae in the upper Madeira River, Rondônia, Brazil with comments on diversity and conservation

Catenacci, FernandaSilveira, Simon, MarceloFragomeni
Brittonia 2017 v.69 no.4 pp. 447-456
Bertholletia, Brazil nuts, Cariniana, Eschweilera, Gustavia, Lecythis, biodiversity, flora, habitats, herbaria, lowland forests, plant taxonomy, rivers, Amazonia, Brazil
The Lecythidaceae or Brazil Nut family are ubiquitous in non-flooded lowland forests of the Amazon, where they are indicative of well-preserved or little-disturbed habitats. A recent checklist of the Brazilian flora reported 10 genera and 119 species for that country, of which 104 are found in the Amazon region. However, the botanical knowledge in many regions of the country remains far from complete. This study aimed to analyze the diversity of Lecythidaceae in the upper Madeira River region in Rondônia, an area where botanical data is scarce. Lecythidaceae collections deposited in the CEN, INPA and RON herbaria were examined, and four field expeditions in the study area were carried out. For that region, we recorded 37 species of Lecythidaceae belonging to 7 genera: Eschweilera (21 species), Couratari (6), Cariniana (3), Gustavia (3), Allantoma (2), Bertholletia (1) and Lecythis (1). Among these species, five are listed as threatened in the IUCN Red List. The total number of species found in the upper Madeira River of Rondônia alone is higher than the 28 species reported to date for the entire state of Rondônia in the Brazilian Flora Checklist (Smith et al., 2015), and adds 13 new records of Lecythidaceae for the state. Considering that this study is restricted to the northern part of the state, our results suggest that the number of Lecythidaceae species in Rondônia is severely underestimated. Our findings highlight the need for more intensive floristic studies in the Amazon region, which should target areas that are botanically unexplored but have high biodiversity potential. Such studies will provide valuable information to support both taxonomic studies and species conservation assessments.