The Research Program on Biodiversity Characterization, Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use (BIOTA-FAPESP), also known as the Virtual Institute of Biodiversity, is the result of articulations from São Paulo’s Scientific Community around the premises of the Convention on Biological Diversity  signed at ECO-92 meeting and ratified by Brazilian National Congress in 1994.

The Plan for the second stage of the Program can be read in BIOTA + 10 Science Plan.

About the PROGRAM

The Biota/Fapesp program was launched in March, 1999. The objective of the program is to know, to map and assess the biodiversity of São Paulo State, including the fauna, the flora and microorganisms, but also evaluate the possibilities of sustainable exploitation of plants or animals with economic potential and supporting policy making for forest remnants conservation.n to evaluating the possibilities of sustainable exploitation of plants or animals with economic potential and supporting policy making for forest remnants conservation.

The Biota-FAPESP Program is also known as the Virtual Institute of Biodiversity due to its organization design which coordinates researchers from several institutions and students remotely. Scientists from universities, research institutes and non-governmental organizations set up projects from different modalities to study, map and assess the terrestrial, freshwater, marine environments and other ecosystems. In addition Biota/Fapesp participants search for proposing alternatives for policy making regarding biodiversity conservation. The program has gathered over 1.200 experts from Brazil and abroad.



The main objective of Biota/Fapesp is to inventory and characterize the biodiversity of São Paulo State, defining the mechanisms for its conservation, economic potential and sustainable use.

A non-exhaustive list of products list of objectives, means and products is presented below. They are propositions of lines of action in the Program.

  • To study and to know the State of São Paulo biodiversity and disseminate this knowledge and importance
  • To understand the processes that generate, maintain and impact biodiversity
  • To know the local and traditional knowledge regarding biodiversity
  • To increase the capacity of public and private organizations to manage, monitor and use biodiversity.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of conservation efforts in São Paulo State, and in addition, to identify prioritized areas and components for biodiversity conservation
  • to develop methodological bases and reference standards for environmental impact studies
  • To estimate biodiversity loss in different spatial and temporal scales
  • To support decision making on development projects, especially sustainable development
  • To empower the São Paulo State, public and private organizations to benefit from the sustainable use of their genetic biological resources
  • To train the government to estimate the value of biodiversity and its services, such as water conservation, biological control, etc
  • To enable State institutions to comply with legal provisions and instruments concerning living organisms, such as the specimens deposit
PROGRAM Background

Officially created in March 1999, the Research Program on Sustainable Biodiversity Conservation, entitled “Biota / Fapesp Program, “The Virtual Institute of Biodiversity”, was the result of three years of work by a group of researchers who, with the support of Coordination of Biological Sciences and the support of the Scientific Board of FAPESP, sensitized the scientific community, which acts in the vast area of knowledge that the term biodiversity covers, to the need for concrete actions for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), signed by the Brazilian government during ECO-92.

This articulation between researchers began in 1996, from a meeting organized by the Fapesp Biological Sciences Coordination and by the Scientific Board , with about 40 leaders in this area of knowledge. At this meeting a Coordination Group was established for the project, at the time called BIOTASP, which defined a timetable and the main lines of work for the creation of the Program.

Details on the history of the BIOTA/FAPESP Program, as well as on the State of São Paulo (for example, physical environment, vegetation and conservation areas) can be found in the book “Diretrizes para a Conservação e Restauração da Biodiversidade no Estado de São Paulo”(only in Portuguese).

The Program regularly undergoes an evaluation process by an External Committee. In addition to evaluating the progress of the program, this Committee makes suggestions for the continuity and expansion of Biota/Fapesp. All evaluation reports are available for consultation.

Carlos Alfredo Joly
Departamento de Biologia Vegetal
Jean Paul Metzger
Departamento de Ecologia
simone aparecida vieira
Simone Aparecida Vieira
Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Ambientais (NEPAM)
Letícia Veras Costa Lotufo
Departamento de Farmacologia do Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas
vanderlan bolzani
Vanderlan da Silva Bolzani
Instituto de Química
Alexander Turra
Laboratório de Manejo, Ecologia e Conservação Marinha, Instituto Oceanográfico