FAQ About Biodiversity Hotspots

Biodiversity Hotspots
11 months ago | gizem

What criteria are used to identify biodiversity hotspots?

The criteria used to identify biodiversity hotspots are primarily based on a combination of species richness, endemism (presence of species found nowhere else), and threats to biodiversity. The concept of biodiversity hotspots was initially proposed by ecologist Norman Myers in 1988 and has evolved over time. The primary criteria used to identify biodiversity hotspots include:

  • Species Richness: Biodiversity hotspots are characterized by a high number of species. The specific number of species required to qualify as a hotspot may vary, but a minimum of 1,500 endemic vascular plant species (plants with specialized conducting tissues) is often used as a threshold.
  • Endemism: Endemic species are those that are found only in a specific geographic region and not found anywhere else in the world. Biodiversity hotspots are expected to have a significant proportion of endemic species.
  • Threatened Habitat: Hotspots are areas where habitat destruction and degradation have led to significant losses of original habitat. To qualify as a hotspot, the region must have lost at least 70% of its original natural habitat due to human activities.
  • Conservation Significance: The regions should have unique or irreplaceable biodiversity, meaning that they harbor species that have limited distribution and are particularly vulnerable to extinction.
  • Species Vulnerability: Hotspots often contain species that are highly threatened or endangered due to their limited distribution and the intensity of the threats they face.
  • Human Impact: The level of human impact on the area, including factors like population density, urbanization, deforestation, and pollution, is considered as it contributes to habitat loss and degradation.
  • Ecosystem Services: The area's importance in providing ecosystem services to local communities and the broader ecosystem is also considered, as these services can impact human well-being and environmental health.
  • Conservation Investment: The feasibility of conservation efforts and the potential impact of conservation initiatives on preserving the region's biodiversity are also taken into account.