Brazilian rupestrian grasslands (campos rupestres) are old, climatically buffered infertile landscapes, which support many endemic species. Asteraceae show the high levels of plant endemism and contain more endangered species than any other family in Brazil. Here, we evaluated the complementarity of two protected areas for the conservation of endangered Asteraceae along the Espinhaço Mountain range, Southeast Brazil. Specifically, we investigated if the known endangered Asteraceae flora of the Diamantina District Plateau (38 species) occurs in two protected areas, Rio Preto State Park and Sempre Vivas National Park, and if these areas are complimentary or overlapping in protecting endangered Asteraceae species. To survey Asteraceae, we used a standardized RAPELD protocol (21 1 ha plots) and traditional floristic collecting (117 ha polygon/32 days/average team = 2.1 collectors) across different habitats and altitudes within both areas. RAPELD protocol recorded 115 species in a sample of 12,775 individuals of Asteraceae. Traditional floristic collecting recorded 172 species in a sample of 613 collections. Seventy-nine percent of endangered species known to occur within the Plateau were recollected by either RAPELD or traditional floristic collecting. Only 13% of endangered Asteraceae flora was common to both protected areas; 47% occur in Rio Preto State Park and 34% in Sempre Vivas National Park; combined, they recorded 68% of the endangered Plateau Asteraceae flora; only one critically endangered species was recorded. The two parks are complimentary but insufficient to protect the endangered Asteraceae flora of the Plateau; the uneven distribution of endangered species in the Diamantina District Plateau is a threat to their conservation.
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Vol. 12 • No. 1