The world's biodiversity, it seems, is in trouble. A new report compiled over four years by some 400 ecologists has identified nine new "hotspots" where animal and plant biodiversity is both high and imperiled. The 34 total hotspots identified since 2000 cover only 2.3 percent of the earth's surface but are home to three-quarters of the most threatened mammals, birds, and amphibians. Hotspots are "the environmental emergency rooms of our planet," said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International and coeditor of the report, and they make conservation, if not easier, at least more focused. Conservationists and governments wondering where to invest their limited resources now have 34 excellent candidates, including newcomers in the mountains of central Asia, the Horn of Africa, and the entire nation of Japan.
Thanks to Grist Magazine