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Planet Care

189: Hotspots

Problem:

Some regions of the Planet are home to a disproportionately high number of species which, threatened by human habitation, need special protection.

Solution:

Biodiversity hotspot zones.


In 1988, Norman Myers, an English environmentalist, published an article entitled “Threatened Biotas: ‘Hot Spots’ in Tropical Forests” in The Environmentalist wherein he proposed ten localities in the tropical forests by virtue of their floristic richness and deforestation rates. Myers called these ten localities as “hotspot” areas, thus, giving birth to the concept of biodiversity hotspots.

He recommended they should be made the focus of preservation efforts as a way to cut the rates of mass extinction. Another article, published in “Nature” in 2000 had been cited 19,000 times by 2017. This work was cited when Myers was named 2007 Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics, which is to say, it must have a high %age of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable and must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened.

To date, ecologists have identified 36 biodiversity hotspots that cover about 15 % of the surface Earth: areas such as the Galápagos Islands, Madagascar, the West African rainforest, Japan, California and the Mediterranean coastline.

Among global hotspot initiatives, the World Wide Fund for Nature has derived a system called the “Global 200 Ecoregions”, the aim of which is to select priority Ecoregions for conservation within each of 14 terrestrial, 3 freshwater, and 4 marine habitat types.

They are chosen for their species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or evolutionary.

Discover Solution 190: Spray-on soil

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