Decline in Giant Tree Numbers: Status Report for Santa Catarina State and Perspectives for Brazil

ABSTRACT Loss of large trees due to indiscriminate timber cutting and opening of new areas for human use is a global problem. Brazil is well known for tree species richness within its extensive forested areas composed of various biomes. Giant trees are “key” to recognize the original forest structure. Decline of their populations in Brazil may be estimated by comparing data of the National Forest Inventory (NFI) with those of regional data and other surveys. In fact, Santa Catarina is the first state in Brazil to have currently completed its forest inventory. However, only few large trees were sampled systematically. Recognition of the maximum tree growth is important for their ecological management and tourism potential. Public policies for cataloging and management of these resources must be developed before it is too late.