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A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region that is both a significant reservoir of biodiversity and is threatened with destruction. The Biodiversity hotspots are identified by Conservation International (CI), and refer to 25 biologically rich areas around the world that are the focus of Conservation International's conservation activities. According to CI, the remaining natural habitat in these biodiversity hotspots amounts to just 1.4 percent of the land surface of the planet, yet supports nearly 60 percent of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. In a recent press release, based on some new work, CI updated the list with 9 new hotspots. Included in this new list is the great range of Himalayas and the island nation of Japan.
The biodiversity hotspots initiative is similar to World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Global 200 initiative, which identifies over 200 ecoregions as priorities for conservation of biodiversity. Both are scientific initiatives that try to quantify species diversity, and the WWF and CI schemes both target many of the same regions. The main differences are in the scale of the regions—the biodiversity hotspots tend to be larger regions, and generally include multiple WWF ecoregions—and CI's focus on terrestrial ecoregions, while the WWF scheme includes freshwater and marine ecoregions as well.
A detailed map prepared by National Geographic of the hotspots and individual endangered fauna details is provided at CI's website.
The 25 Biodiversity hotspots by region
North and Central America
- Atlantic Forest
- Chilean Winter Rainfall-Valdivian Forests
- Tropical Andes
- Cape Floristic Region
- Coastal forests of eastern Africa
- Eastern Afromontane
- Guinean Forests of West Africa
- Horn of Africa
- Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands
- Succulent Karoo
- East Melanesian Islands
- Mountains of Southwest China
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Southwest Australia
- Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
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