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among the states and Protected Areas?
The results show that the states with a greater number 
of species evaluated showed a higher number of threat-
ened species, following the same trend as the results 
found in the Red Book of the Brazilian Flora (Martinelli 
& Moraes, 2013). This trend may reflect the heterogene-
ity of knowledge and availability of information about 
the species in different regions, linked to the proximity 
Livro vermelho da flora do Brasil \u2013 Plantas raras do Cerrado | 39 
of research centers and easy access to the areas. Also the 
heterogeneity in terms of conservation policy imple-
mented by state governments needs to be considered as 
it reflects the conservation status of areas and the threats 
mainly linked to the agricultural and mining economies 
of these states.
The results show that most of the species have at 
least one record in a Protected Area (PA). However, on 
analyzing the number of records per species inside and 
outside PAs, a greater variance in the data was found 
outside the PAs. This result also shows the lack of pro-
tection for many subpopulations of rare species and the 
uncertainty concerning the protection of these species 
as a whole. However, the setting up of Protected Areas 
still seems to be the best way to ensure the protection 
of nature in the long term and prevent species extinc-
tion, even if to establish a PA involves a lengthy process 
(Martinelli & Moraes, 2013). Despite all this up to the 
last decade, there was substantial progress in respect to 
the expansion of the global network of PAs, and Brazil 
was one of the countries that advanced the most, estab-
lishing most of its PAs during this period (Scarano et al., 
2012; Bertzky et al, 2012). Moreover one of the most 
important measures for decisions on the location of PAs 
should be based on scientific knowledge and the mech-
anisms for setting priorities should include endangered 
species as a key indicator (Brooks et al. , 2006). Thus, the 
Assessments of Extinction Risk and the preparation of 
Red Lists can help in targeting strategies in the face of 
a lack of taxonomic, ecological and population knowl-
edge, which are often used to justify difficulties when 
conducting studies on biodiversity, as well as defining 
conservation plans (Canhos et al., 2014). In addition, 
a closer relationship should be with the PA managers 
to establish specific conservation actions in practice for 
endangered species in such areas, as well as the action 
plans envisaged in the management plan. 
What are the main threats and what proportion 
are associated to rare plants of the Cerrado?
The main threats reported in the Assessments of 
Extinction Risk of the rare Cerrado plants reflect the 
evolution of the occupation of the Brazilian Cerrado. 
The threats in general have involved mining activities 
and the subsequent expansion of the agricultural fron-
tier, as well as other threats related to these activities, 
such as anthropogenic fires, mainly used for soil man-
agement, and the consequent invasion of exotic species.
The invasion of the Cerrado began in the 18th 
Century with the search for gold and gemstones open-
ing up the region with the first roads and railway lines 
(da Fonseca et al., 1999). These transportation routes 
helped establish extensive cattle ranching on natural 
grasslands, which remained the main economic activity 
until the mid-1950s, and represented the first major im-
pact on the Cerrado ecosystem (da Fonseca et al., 1999). 
Drastic changes occurred in the mid-1950s with the 
building of Brasília and the massive road development 
schemes of the government to stimulate growth within 
the country (da Fonseca et al., 1999). Such develop-
ment gave way to mega-enterprises in the field of agri-
culture, and the Cerrado became the new agricultural 
frontier in Brazil. Consequently, large areas were invad-
ed for planted pastures and crops, especially soybeans, 
corn and rice (da Fonseca et al., 1999). Approximately 
half of the original area of the Cerrado was thus trans-
formed into planted pastures and annual crops (Klink 
& Machado, 2005). The change in land use and cover 
were not only due to replacing the native vegetation 
and changing land usage but also through the exces-
sive use of fertilizers and chemicals to compensate for 
the deficiency of nutrients, minerals and the soil acid-
ity (Muller, 2003), besides the contamination of rivers 
and streams (Klink & Machado, 2005). However, one 
could argue that the putting in of planted pastures is a 
major threat to native Cerrado vegetation due to their 
inadequate management practices (Klink & Machado, 
2005). To form these pastures, the native vegetation is 
burnt off and then African grasses are sown. Such grass-
es compete with native species for water and nutrients 
and proliferate successfully in disturbed areas, roadsides, 
abandoned plantations and environmentally protected 
areas (ziller, 2001). They are responsible for the increase 
in biomass and, when dry, are highly flammable, caus-
ing changes to the natural cycle of fire in these envi-
ronments (D\u2019Antonio & Vitousek, 1992; Pivello, 2011). 
Although fire is part of the ecosystem dynamics of the 
Cerrado, the fires in areas dominated by these grasses 
are hotter and last longer, and cause higher flames that 
reach the tree canopies, and thus change the cycle of 
the vegetative growth processes, modifying the fauna 
on the ground and disrupting the growth of shrubs and 
trees (D\u2019Antonio & Vitousek, 1992; Klink & Machado, 
2005). Also more recently, tourism has increased signifi-
cantly in the Cerrado. However, the lack of infrastruc-
ture and organized activities even in Protected Areas is 
seen as threats to species due to trampling by walkers 
through the undergrowth, use of vehicles, increased fre-
quency of fires and accumulation of garbage (Machado, 
2008; Pinto, 2008). 
40 | Livro vermelho da flora do Brasil \u2013 Plantas raras do Cerrado
In 2014, with knowledge increase and discus-sions on conservation policy, the Ministry of the Environment \u2013 MMA established the National 
Program for Conservation of Endangered Species 
(Pro-Species) through ordinance no. 43 MMA (MMA, 
2014). This program was created specifically for endan-
gered species, considering the adoption of preventive, 
conservative, managerial and administrative actions, in 
order to minimize threats and the extinction risks of 
species (MMA, 2014). The Pro-Species officially estab-
lishes rules for risk assessments, requires that the new 
official list of endangered species in Brazil meets in-
ternationally recognized standards following the IUCN 
categories and criteria for assessing extinction risk and, 
based on this assessment develop action plans for the 
conservation of endangered species (MMA, 2014). 
Through this ordinance, the CNCFlora that had al-
ready been undertaking risk assessments based on the 
IUCN methodology since its beginning, is recognized 
within the JBRJ as being responsible for risk assess-
ment and planning the conservation of species of flora 
in Brazil, as well as preparing and periodically updating 
the official national list of threatened species. Thus, with 
the latest results from CNCFlora based on the assess-
ments of extinction risk of flora, Brazil is on its way to 
achieve the goals set up the GSPC; however, there is 
still a big challenge ahead, not only the evaluation risk 
of all flora, but also the investment of resources to de-
velop actions for the conservation of these species and 
the creation of Protected Areas that effectively guaran-
tee the conservation of populations of threatened and 
rare species.
Despite the current recognition that conservation of 
plant resources is a fundamental pillar for maintaining 
biodiversity and human life, plant