FLORISTICS AND CONSERVATION
OF ORCHIDACEAE AT NATURAL RESERVE IN RIO DE JANEIRO

Eduardo Martins Saddi &
Rosana Conrado Lopes (1)

Regina Helene Potsch Andreata (2)


An Abstract of a work published
in Selbyana 25(2): 000-000.2004


The Work
The authors have worked in a Reserve in the district of Rio de Janeiro which name and coordinates are not giving for conservation reason as some species found in the area are endangered. From February 2003 to February 2004, they made monthly 3-day trips to the study area. The work consisted of surveying the Floristic and conserving the Orchidaceae in an area which represents a valuable remnant of the Atlantic Pluvial Forest.


The Place


This reserve, with 20–1050 m elevation in an area of 1305 ha, lies within the Rio Grande watershed, and this river runs full course through a deep valley, descending sharply from source to mouth over steep terrain with a 37º slope (Vidal 1995). In contrast to other surveys of the orchid family in the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Reserve is the smallest area but the richest in orchid species makes it an important forest remainder in the State. The region has a warm climate with a mean annual temperature of 22ºC, rainfall of 1200– 2500 mm, and 11–12 months with 800 mm of hydric excess. Ten main trails cut through the reserve, which is considerably influenced by human activities, especially from ca. 20–420 m elevation, where bananas once were planted. Above 450 m, the forest becomes more dense and humid, with large trees forming a canopy ca. 20–30 m tall (Quinet 2002).

The Orchidaceae family
The orchid family is the most representative one among the monocotyledons, representing 48% of the total species in this group. Two subfamilies, 43 genera, and 88 species of orchids have been identified in the Reserve. The most representative genera are Pleurothallis (13 spp.) and Epidendrum (9 spp.)


MATERIAL AND METHODS

Floristic
As part of their research, the authors revised the list of Orchidaceae species compiled by botanists from the Angiosperm Laboratory, Santa Ursula University (USU), who have been collecting in the area since 1996 as part of this Reserve Floristic Project.
They made botanical collections along the trails and in the surroundings, giving preference to flowering and fruiting material. They recorded data on morphology, population numbers, phenology, life forms, substrate type, and altitude. Flowers were fixed in 70% alcohol with 10% glycerin for later analysis (Pinheiro 1999). Specimens were pressed and dried according to standard procedures (Fidalgo & Bononi 1984) and deposited in the Santa Ursula University Herbarium (RUSU). Whenever possible, duplicates were sent to the Rio de Janeiro Federal University Herbarium (RFA) (abbreviations follow Holmgren et al. 1990).
Data on major plant groups in the study area are presented. Taxonomic studies were based on the literature as well as consultations with specialists and with the collections of the Research Institute, Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden. The classification system follows Dressler (1993).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The orchid species list compiled by the team of this Reserve Floristic Project originally had 29 species and 22 genera of Orchidaceae. After one year of collecting in the area, the list grew to 88 species in 43 genera (TABLE 1). Of this total, 59 species were collected solely by the senior author, 17 by the project team, and 12 by both .
Orchidaceae make up 48% of the monocots found in this Reserve, followed by Araceae (10%), Marantaceae (9%), Commelinaceae (8%), Bromeliaceae (8%), and other families (17%).
The Orchidaceae consists of five subfamilies (Dressler 1993), three of which have representatives in Brazil. The orchid species at this Reserve belong to two subfamilies—Epidendroideae and Spiranthoideae—which are mostly epiphytes or terrestrial species, respectively.
Of the 43 genera, the most species-rich are Pleurothallis (13 spp.), Epidendrum (9 spp.), Maxillaria (6 spp.), Beadlea (5 spp.), Octomeria (5 spp.), Oncidium (4 spp.), Bifrenaria (2 spp.), Dichaea (2 spp.), Eltroplectris (2 spp.), Eurystyles (2 spp.), Gomesa (2 spp.), Promenaea (2 spp.), Prosthechea (2 spp.), and Stelis (2 spp.); and the other genera have one species each .
Regarding life form, 61 of the 88 species analyzed are strictly epiphytes, 20 are strictly terrestrial, and 7 are epiphytes and terrestrial. The terrestrial species are classified as terrestrial (12 spp.), rupicolous (4 spp.), saxicolous (3 spp.), and saprophytes (1 sp.).
Of the 61 strictly epiphytic species, 57 belong to the subfamily Epidendroideae. Although most of the genera in this subfamily have only epiphytic species, some genera, such as Malaxis and Oeceoclades, include terrestrial species (Fraga 2000).
Of the 20 terrestrial species, 12 belong to the Spiranthoideae, which represents the life form most commonly found in this subfamily.
All seven species that have both terrestrial and epiphytic life forms are found on the banks of the Rio Grande. Two of these species are found in other habitats (forest interior or rocky outcrops), where they always occur as one life form. For instance, Epidendrum secundum Jacq. is a terrestrial plant growing on rocky outcrops, and Isochilus linearis (Jacq.) R. Br. is an epiphyte in the forest.

TABLE 1
Orchid checklist of this natural reserve RJ, Brazil.
Orchid species
Orchid species
Beadlea bicolor (Ker- Gawl.) Garay
Beadlea elata (Sw.) Small
Beadlea elegans (Hoehne) Garay
Beadlea itatiaiensis (Krzl.) Garay
Beadlea aff. longibracteata (Barb. Rodr.) Garay
Bifrenaria harrisoniae (Hook) Rchb.f.
Bifrenaria inodora Lindl.
Bulbophyllum micranthum Barb. Rodr.
Campylocentrum sellowii (Rchb. f.) Rolfe
Cattleya forbesii Lindl.
Cirrhaea saccata Lindl.
Cochleanthes sp.
Constantia rupestris Barb. Rodr.
Cyrtopodium polyphyllum (Vell.) Pabst ex F.Barros
Dichaea cogniauxiana Schltr.
Dichaea pendula (Aubl.) Cogn.
Dipteranthus pellucidus (Rchb.) Cogn.
Elleanthus sp.
Eltroplectris janeirensis (Porto & Brade) Pabst
Eltroplectris triloba (Lindl.) Pabst
Encyclia patens Hook.
Epidendrum armeniacum Lindl.
Epidendrum campaccii Hágsater & L. Sánchez
Epidendrum filicaule Lindl.
Epidendrum geniculatum Herb. Ham. Ex Hook.f.
Epidendrum ramosum Jacq.
Epidendrum rigidum Jacq.
Epidendrum secundum Jacq.
Epidendrum vesicatum Lindl.
Epidendrum sp.
Erythrodes arietina Ames
Eurystyles cogniauxii (Krlz.) Pabst
Eurystyles cotyledon Wawra
Galeandra beyrichii Rchb. f.
Gomesa crispa Klotzch ex Rchb. f.
Gomesa planifolia Klotzch ex Rchb. f.
Gongora bufonia Lindl.
Hapalorchis lineata Schltr.
Isochilus linearis (Jacq.) R. Br.
Laelia crispa (Lindl.) Rchb. f.
Lankesterella ceracifolia (Barb. Rodr.) Mansf.
Leptotes bicolor Lindl.
Malaxis excavata Kuntze
Maxillaria brasiliensis Brieger & Bicalho
Maxillaria marginata (Lindl.) Fenzl.
Maxillaria parviflora
(Poepp. & Endl.)
Maxillaria picta Hook.
Maxillaria rufescens Lindl.
Maxillaria sp. 1
Mesadenella cuspidata (Lindl.) Garay
Octomeria albopurpurea Barb. Rodr.
Octomeria juncifolia Barb. Rodr.
Octomeria oxIchella Barb. Rodr.
Octomeria tricolor Rchb.f.
Octomeria sp.
Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl.
Oncidium cornigerum Lindl.
Oncidium fimbriatum Lindl.
Oncidium flexuosum Sims.
Oncidium longipes Lindl.
Pelexia novofriburgensis (Rchb. f.) Garay
Phymatidium tillandsoides Barb. Rodr. (Phymatdium falcifolium Lindl.)
Pleurothallis aphtosa Lindl.
Pleurothallis bidentula Barb. Rodr.
Pleurothallis compressiflora Barb. Rodr. (Pleurothallis auriculata Lindl.)
Pleurothallis granulosa (Barb. Rodr.)
Pleurothallis grobyi Bateman ex. Lindl.
Pleurothallis hypnicola Lindl.
Pleurothallis lineolata (Barb. Rodr.)
Pleurothallis rubens Lindl.
Pleurothallis saundersiana Rchb.f.
Pleurothallis aff. trifida Lindl.
Pleurothallis sp. 1
Pleurothallis sp. 2
Pleurothallis sp. 3
Polystachya concreta (Jacq.) Garay
Prescottia plantaginea Lindl.
Promenaea ovatiloba Cogn.
Promenaea paulensis Schltr.
Prosthechea pygmaea (Hook) W. E.
Prosthechea vespa (Vell.) W. E.
Sacoila lanceolata (Aubl.) Garay
Sarcoglottis fasciculata (Vell.) Schltr.
Stanhopea guttulata Lindl.
Stelis megantha Barb. Rodr.
Stelis aff. modesta Barb. Rodr.
Tetragamestus modestus Rchb.f. (Scaphyglottis modesta Schltr.)
Wullschlaegelia aphylla Rchb. f.
Xylobium variegatum (Ruiz & Pav.)


Constantia rupestris

Diptheranthus pellucidus

Erythrodes arietina

Malaxis excavata

Malaxis excavata - detalhe

Maxillaria parviflora

Pelexia novofriburguensis
Laelia crispa


Oncidium longipes

Oncidium longipes - detalhe

Stanhopea guttulata

Sacoila lanceolata
Vanilla angustipetala

Phymathydium tillandsioides

Gongora bufonia

Conservation Status
Endangered plant species have been listed for several states and municipalities in Brazil and references to conservation status were found for 24 species in listings by this reserve for habitats in four states: Rio Grande do Sul (RS), Paraná (PR), Rio de Janeiro Municipality (RJ), and for the sandy coastal plains of Espírito Santo (ES). They have been analyzed and placed in the following categorie: Nine species fall into the category Endangered (EN), six are Vulnerable (VU), five are Low Risk (LR), one is Rare (RARE), and two have deficient data (DD). Bifrenaria harrisoniae (Hook) Rchb.f. was classified as Endangered in RS and RJ Municipality, while Cyrtopodium polyphyllum (Vell.) Pabst ex F. Barros is endangered in RS and Low Risk on the sandy coastal plains of ES. Sixteen of the 24 species are being cultivated at JBRJ, where, in the future, they can be utilized for propagation actions, re-introduction, and education (TABLE 2).
Sources: Banco de Dados Tropical (BDT 2004), Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente (SMAC 2000), and Fraga (2000).



TABLE 2.
Conservation status of 24 species from the checklist
of this natural Reserve per locality
species
RS
PR
RJ
ES
JBRJ
Greenhouse
Beadlea elegans
 
 
 
VU
 
Bifrenaria harrisoniae
EN
 
EN
 
 
Bifrenaria inodora
EN
 
 
 
X
Cattleya forbesii
 
 
EN
 
X
Cirrhaea saccata
EN
 
 
 
X
Cyrtopodium polyphyllum
EN
 
 
LR
X
Eltroplectris triloba
 
 
 
LR
 
Epidendrum rigidum
 
 
 
VU
 
Epidendrum secundum
 
 
 
DD
X
Erythrodes arietina
EN
 
 
 
X
Gongora bufonia
 
RARE
 
 
X
Hapalorchis lineata
 
EN
 
 
 
Leptotes bicolor
 
EN
 
 
X
Mesadenella cuspidata
 
 
 
VU
X
Oeceoclades maculata
 
 
 
LR
 
Pleurothallis auriculata
 
 
 
EN
X
Pleurothallis grobyi
 
 
 
VU
X
Pleurothallis saundersiana
 
 
 
VU
X
Polystachya concreta
 
 
 
LR
X
Prescottia plantaginea
 
 
 
LR
X
Prosthechea pygmaea
 
 
 
VU
 
Sacoila lanceolata
 
 
 
DD
X
Sarcoglottis fasciculata
 
 
 
LR
X
Wullschlaegelia aphyla
 
EN
 
 
 


In and Ex-situ Conservation
Conserving natural habitats will protect many species, including orchids; but some species require more specific measures (IUCN 1996). The conservation of species may depend on both in-situ and ex-situ strategies. In-situ conservation takes place in conservation units, while ex-situ conservation depends on seed banks, botanical garden collections, nurseries with testimonial seedlings, cryopreservation, and in-vitro collections. These methods complement one another, because not all wild species and their populations can be maintained in natural reserves or environmental protection areas, which often have been reduced to small areas by urban sprawl and expanding agricultural frontiers (Cavalcanti & Walter 1998).
Ex-situ Conservation - Live collections

Live collections are essential for conservation, especially regarding propagation and reintroduction of orchid species. These plants produce thousands of seeds, and there are well-known techniques for their symbiotic and asymbiotic germination. Such activities must be closely followed by studies of geographic distribution, habitat specificity, and population size of each species (IUCN 1996). The orchid collection maintained by the Research Institute of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (JBRJ) aims to scientifically conserve and propagate genetic material from the Brazilian Flora, thus contributing to the ex-situ conservation of endangered species. As a result, the vegetative specimens are deposited in the Live-Plant Collection of this institution.
Today, it contains 124 specimens belonging to 38 genera and 52 species. Some 72 of these plants have not yet flowered and have only been identified to the genus level. Of the 88 species that make up the list of orchids at the reserve, 45 are under cultivation (51% of the total number of species). Thirteen species (15% of the total) have not yet flowered and have only been identified to the genus level. Besides adding a significant number of taxa to the list, the live collection has allowed us to observe the development and morphological aspects of vegetative and reproductive organs of the species, which will contribute to future studies. Educational programs related to orchid collections are needed, especially in the tropics, because otherwise conservation efforts will not bear fruit (Davis et al. 1986).
Eduardo Saddi points out the importance of every alive collection to be referencied. Since the plants have been already collected, it is necessary that this agression to the nature has, at least, an utility. It is necessary that the collector creates a referencied data bank with registers of all possible information about the collection in order to, in a near or next future, the collection becomes useful for conservationist aims. A non-referencied collection is useless for the science. If the data are only known by the collector, the collection loses its scientific means because in case of forgetfulness or his decease, all information are lost.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors thanked Marta Moraes and Melissa Bocayuva for their support with the live collection at JBRJ; Dorothy S.D. de Araujo for translation of the manuscript; Pablo V. Prieto and Carlo A. Zaldini for their assistance in the field; Carl Luer and the IOCC II ‘‘team’’ for their hospitality at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Brazilian Scientific Academy for the grants.

Note of the editor - New occurence to the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Stanhopea guttulata is a new occurrence for the state of Rio de Janeiro, as well Vanilla angustipetala and Maxillaria parviflora.
Former registers:
Stanhopea guttulata - Espírito Santo
Vanilla angustipetala - Paraná and Santa Catarina
Maxillaria parviflora - from north, northeast and center-west regions


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(1)Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro–CCS–Instituto de Biologia–Bl.A1–092–Laboratório de Taxonomia Vegetal e Biologia Reprodutiva. Av. Brigadeiro Trompowsky, s.n., Ilha do Fundão Cep.: 21941-590, Rio de Janeiro–RJ–Brasil.

(2) Universidade Santa Úrsula, ICBA, Laboratório de Angiospermas. Rua Fernando Ferrari, 75, Botafogo, Cep.: 22.231-040, Rio de Janeiro–RJ–Brasil.

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