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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

Clavijo, Laura [1], Clark, John L. [2].

Gesneriaceae of Colombia: Diversity and Conservation.

Gesneriaceae has approximately 3200 species and 160 genera, distributed in the tropics with some species reaching temperate areas of the northern and southern hemispheres. The family is divided into two major clades: Cyrtandroideae, distributed primarily in the Paleotropics, and Gesnerioideae, distributed primarily in the Neotropics. The subfamily Gesnerioideae has ca. 1800 species and 56 genera with the largest diversity found in northern South America, especially in Colombia and Ecuador. Colombia is one of the megadiverse countries of the world, covers 0.8% of the world's land surface, and yet, it is home to some 10% of the all plant species in the world. Using data produced for the forthcoming “Catalogue of the Plants of Colombia”, and from recent expeditions to Colombia we analyzed the diversity and distribution patterns of Gesneriaceae. We found that Colombia has the largest diversity of Neotropical Gesneriaceae with 353 species and 37 genera –however, the high number of unidentified collections found in herbaria suggests that this number can reach the 400 species–followed by Ecuador (262/29 genera), Brazil (207/28), and Peru (150/28). One third of the species are endemic to Colombia, and most of them belong to the genera Besleria (37), Columnea (22) and Nautilocalyx (10). The richest genera are Columnea (89), Besleria (80) and Drymonia (32), and the regions with the highest concentration of species correspond to the biodiversity hotspots, Tropical Andes and Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena, especially from sea level to 1500 m of elevation. Despite its enormous biodiversity, Colombia has a high rate of deforestation that threatens the conservation of the native flora and most species of Gesneriaceae. Between 1990 and 2010 there was over 6,206,000 hectares (5.4% of the Colombian territory) of forest destroyed. About 40% of this deforestation occurred in the Amazon and 32% in the Andes. The cattle industry is one of the main deforestation causes, followed by legal and illegal crops, and mining activities. Recent studies by environmental authorities in Colombia showed that well conserved areas of the western Andean slopes are now suffering high rates of deforestation. These areas are especially diverse in gesneriads, however the current knowledge on the status of conservation of this family in Colombia is sparse with only ten species adequately evaluated with the IUCN criteria. From those ten species one is critically endangered (CR), two are endangered (EN), five are vulnerable (VU), and two are near threatened (NT).

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Alabama, Biological Sciences, P.O. Box 870345, 425 Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487-0345, USA
2 - The University of Alabama, Biological Sciences, Box 870345, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487, USA

threatened species.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Grand Salon A - D/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PSY050
Abstract ID:865
Candidate for Awards:None

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