Brazil is the most biologically diverse country in the world. It is classified at the top among the world’s 17 mega diverse countries, and second only to Indonesia in terms of species endemism. It contains two biodiversity hotspots (the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado), six terrestrial biomes and three large marine ecosystems. At least 103,870 animal species and 43,020 plant species are currently known, comprising 70% of the world’s catalogued animal and plant species. It is estimated that Brazil hosts between 15-20% of the world’s biological diversity, with the greatest number of endemic species on a global scale. Brazil’s biodiversity is ever-expanding, with an average of 700 new animal species discovered each year.
Brazil harbors the largest continuous stretch of mangroves in the world (1.3 million hectares) and the only reef environments of the South Atlantic, distributed along 3,000 km of the north-eastern coast.
The main threats to biodiversity are: fragmentation and loss of habitats, introduction of alien species and exotic illnesses, overexploitation of plants and animals, use of hybrids and monoculture in agro-industry and reforestation programs, pollution and climate change.