Author: Sinchi Institute, Colombia
What are the species of tree ferns with natural distribution in Colombia and what is their threat status? To answer these questions, the Institute for Scientific Research in the Amazon (SINCHI) with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development published, in 2019, the Red Book of Plants of Colombia Vol. 7 Arborescent Ferns; a document that provides a complete list of tree fern species and assesses the threat situation of this group of ferns in Colombia.
Arborescent Ferns (Cyatheaceae and Dicksoniaceae families) are elements of biodiversity found in tropical forests and perform functions of great relevance such as maintaining the balance of ecosystems, conserving water resources and are an element of appreciable landscape value.
In addition, they have represented a real and / or potential resource for rural and urban communities in different tropical countries due to the traditional use of the different structures extracted from these plants.
Thanks to the alliance signed between the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the SINCHI Institute, and the publication of the Red Book of Plants of Colombia Vol. 7 Arborescent Ferns, it was concluded that of the 700 species of ferns that exist in the world, Colombia it represents at least 20%, which explains the great diversity in this group and the importance of its conservation, promotion and sustainable use.
In addition, the document highlighted 18 new species for science, as a finding of great importance for the country, and 19 new records of species not reported for Colombia. The registration of these new species is transcendental for the country and means an advance in the knowledge of national biodiversity and continues to position Colombia as a megadiverse country.
Another relevant aspect in this work is the assessment of the threat situation of fern species in Colombia; where it has been found that approximately 33% of tree fern species are in some threat category; of that percentage, 18 species are critically endangered, 14 endangered and 14 vulnerable.
The Red Book of Plants of Colombia Vol. 7 Arborescent Ferns is a fundamental instrument to recognize Colombia as a megadiverse country, interested in conserving its natural heritage and contributing to the well-being of the population.
Access the book in Spanish here: https://sinchi.org.co/files/publicaciones/novedades%20editoriales/pdf/LR%20Helechos_13_07_2020_web.pdf
Published in the Bioamazon Newsletter, issue n. 8, March-April 2021.