Founded on June 13, 1808 by King John VI of Portugal and open to the public since 1822, the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also holds the status of Biosphere Reserve since 1992. Over the years, it has evolved into a prominent conservatory and a globally recognized research centre for botany and biodiversity conservation. Satellite imagery can enhance biodiversity monitoring and conservation efforts in such botanical gardens, ensuring the preservation of its rich and diverse natural heritage.
Benefits to Biodiversity
Satellite imagery can be a pragmatic tool for the monitoring and mapping of botanical gardens such as the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro. By providing detailed maps, it facilitates the optimisation of layouts and maximises space within the park’s 140 hectares of grounds. The ability to monitor vegetation health enables staff to quickly intervene, ensuring the well-being of the garden's diverse flora. Moreover, satellite imagery proves invaluable in supporting biodiversity assessments, supporting the presence of precious habitats and bolstering conservation initiatives. By detecting the emergence of pest infestations and disease outbreaks, it facilitates proactive measures to safeguard the garden’s flora. Serving as a decision making tool, satellite imagery can help to streamline the management of the site and reinforces the protection of the garden’s biodiversity.
History of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro
Spanning 140 hectares, the cultivated area of the garden is home to approximately 9,000 botanical specimens, encompassing around 6,500 species, some of which are at risk of extinction. While 40% of the park is developed, the remaining land is intertwined with the Tijuca forest, the largest urban forest in the world, covering a vast expanse of 4,200 hectares. This lush forest merges with the slopes of Mount Corcovado, where the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer stands overlooking the city.
The entrance to the garden is adorned with a grand pathway lined by 134 imperial palm trees, their majestic fronds waving high at a height of 40 meters. Two streams, namely the Riacho Iglesias and the Riacho dos Macacos, run through the garden, adding to its natural charm. At the heart of the garden lies a serene lake, attracting lovers and newlyweds looking to immortalise their emotions amidst the presence of the Victoria Amazonica water lilies.
Within the garden, visitors can explore green-houses that are home to orchids, bromeliads and carnivorous plants. Additionally, the garden boasts an extensive library dedicated to botany, housing more than 32,000 volumes. It is also home to Brazil's largest herbarium, with approximately 650,000 digitised samples available to the public through its website.
The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro stands as a living testament to the importance of biodiversity preservation, offering a sanctuary for flora and a centre for scientific research and exploration. It continues to captivate visitors with its natural splendour and contribute to our understanding and conservation of the world's plant life.