Heated Debate Over Habitat Hot Spots

Scientists say that concentrating conservation efforts on hot spots -- habitats with high biodiversity -- does not factor in the importance of ecosystems to human beings.
July 1, 2003, 6am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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"Conservationists call them hot spots — habitats that cover just 1.4 percent of the earth's land surface but are so rich in biological diversity that preserving them could keep an astonishing number of plant and animal species off the endangered list...But a growing chorus of scientists is warning that directing conservation funds to hot spots may be a recipe for major losses in the future. Just as an investor should maintain a balanced portfolio, the scientists argue, conservationists should avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket...he hot-spot concept does not factor in the importance of some ecosystems to human beings, the scientists argue. Wetlands, for example, contain just a few species of plants, but they perform valuable service by filtering water, regulating floods and serving as nurseries for fish."

Thanks to Abhijeet Chavan

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Published on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 in The New York Times
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