Bertholletia excelsa


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Bertholletia excelsa
Species Authority: H. & B.
Common Name(s):
English Brazil-nut Tree, Para Nut
French Noix Du Brésil
Spanish Turury

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A1acd+2cd ver 2.3
Year Published: 1998
Date Assessed: 1998-01-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Americas Regional Workshop (Conservation & Sustainable Management of Trees, Costa Rica, November 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Large natural stands still exist in northern Bolivia and the species is locally abundant in Suriname.
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia); Colombia; French Guiana; Guyana; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A widely occurring emergent of the Amazonian forest.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Brazil nut tree has experienced major declines in its population because of deforestation. One of the greatest concentrations of trees exists in Tocantins valley where various activities, from the construction of the trans-amazon railway to the building of a reservoir, have brought about a shrinking in the gene pool. An area of 200,000 ha in south Pará has been purchased by the government with the aim of settling landless farmers. Trees remaining in the vast cattle ranches of Pará and Acre are neglected and dying. The production of Brazil nuts more than halved between 1970 and 1980, apparently because of deforestation. Almost all Brazil nuts consumed around the world still come from wild trees. Little is known about the impact of seed gathering on regeneration, but it clearly can be detrimental under some regimes where agoutis, the natural disperser of the Brazil nut, are hunted or chased away.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are various subpopulations in protected areas and on protected corporate properties. There have been relatively few successes at establishing plantations. The sustainable harvesting of nuts by indigenous people in extractive forest reserves offers the most promising protection for the remaining natural stands.

Bibliography [top]

Chudnoff, M. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. Forest Products Laboratory Madison, United States Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin.

Clement, C.R. 1991. Amazonian fruits: a neglected and threatened, but potentially rich resource. Diversity Magazine

FAO Forestry Department. 1986. Databook on endangered tree and shrub species and their provenances. FAO, Rome.

IBAMA. 1992. Lista oficial de espécies da flora Brasileira ameaçadas de extinçao (unpublished).

Killeen, T. 1997. Comments on the species summaries for Bolivia.

Mori, S.A., Prance, G.T. and Zeeuw. C. 1990. Flora Neotropica: Lecythidaceae - Part II: The zygomorphic-flowered New World genera (Couroupita, Corythophora, Bertholletia, Couratari, Eschweilera, and Lecythis). Monograph 21(II). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. and MacKinven, A. (compilers). 1998. The World List of Threatened Trees. World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK.

Smith, N.J.H., Williams, J.T., Plucknett, D.L. and Talbot, J.P. 1992. Tropical forests and their crops. Cornell University, USA.

Van Roosmalen, M.G.M. 1985. Fruits of the Guianan Flora. Institute of Systematic Botany, Utrecht and Silvicultural Dept of Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen.

WCMC. (comp.) 1996. Report of the Second Regional Workshop, held at CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica, 18-20 November 1996. Conservation and Sustainable Management of Trees project (unpublished).

Werkhoven, M.C.M. 1997. Threatened trees of Suriname. A list compiled for the WCMC/SSC Conservation and Sustainable Management of Trees Project (unpublished).

Wickens, G.E. 1995. Edible nuts. Non-wood Forest Products 5. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Citation: Americas Regional Workshop (Conservation & Sustainable Management of Trees, Costa Rica, November 1996) 1998. Bertholletia excelsa. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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