Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123
GOTTLIEB, Otto R.; BORIN, Maria Renata de M. B.; PAGOTTO, Carmen Lucia A. da C. and ZOCHER, Dorothea H. T.. Biodiversity: the brazilian interdisciplinary approach. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 1998, vol.3, n.2, pp.97-102. ISSN 1678-4561. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81231998000200009.
In Brazil biodiversity, specially plant diversity, is considered an important source of wealth. Clearly, however, any enduring retribution in social benefits does not depend simply on the use of biodiversity, but on its sustainable use. Regional descriptions of fauna and flora constitute a first step in this direction. Utilized for mapping and quantification of biodiversity, such descriptions allow mechanistic interpretations of the functioning of nature. Without the understanding of these mechanisms "sustainable development" remains what it is today: a political appeal without social retribution (Beardsley, 1994). Our efforts aim to provide a secure theoretical basis for the elucidation of this "most marvellous mystery of life, the means by which so much diversity was generated from so little physical material" (Wilson, 1992). After all, "how can you carry out a national policy - or even make intelligent decisions on your own life - if you do not understand the underlying questions" (Sagan, 1996)? This is a genuine Brazilian problem requiring an urgent gathering of efforts, since it has direct practical applications on the socio-economical well-being and the health of the people.
Keywords : Biodiversity; Quantitative Chemical Biology; Ecology; Systematics; Evolution; Natural Products.