Since 1977, EMBRAPA-CENARGEN has been conducting a programme to explore, collect, characterize and conserve germplasm of native legumes with a potential as pasture plants. Fifteen extensive collecting missions covering most of the tropical region of Brazil have been carried out to date, seven in collaboration with CIAT. Approximately 4600 legume samples were collected, one-third being Stylosanthes germplasm. Other important genera extensively collected were Zornia, Desmodium, Centrosema and Aeschynomene. A brief historical overview of activities to collect tropical forage legume germplasm in Brazil is given and regions which warrant further exploration and sampling are identified.