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Biodiversity Hotspots: Evaluation and Analysis Essay

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Updated: May 27th, 2020

For a place to be termed as a hotspot, its degree of endemism should be put into consideration. Mostly, vascular and vertebrate animals are usually prioritized when it comes to endemism. Therefore, hotspots are regions of biodiversity conservation, and the concept of a region qualifying to be called a hotspot has undergone several reviews since its inception. In the latest review which was done in the book, ‘Hotspots: Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Eco-regions’ of 1999, regions which had less than 44 percent of the world’s plants and 35 percent of terrestrial vertebrates, were considered hotspots (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). In total, the latest evaluation discloses a total of 34 Biodiversity hotspots, each supporting more than 1500 Endemic plant species and losing more than 70 percent of its original habitat.

In addition, the number of agencies that focus on the conservation of biodiversity has risen. They include Birdlife International, which identified 218 Endemic Bird Areas (EBA), “each of them holding more than two birds found nowhere else in the world” (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). The World Wildlife Fund of the United States is also another agency, which came up with a system called the Global 200 Eco-regions for selecting priority Eco-regions. Others include the World Bank, USAID, and Wildlife Conservation Society, which have come together to bolster the effort in biodiversity concern. In the year 2000, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility joined CI to set up a partnership fund.

Atlantic forest is an example of biodiversity hotspot found in South America, and stretches along Brazil’s Atlantic coast, from the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte south to the Rio Grande do Sul (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). Its approximate area of coverage is about 1, 233, 875 km2, and has 20,000 plant species, for which 40 percent of it endemic. Currently, 99, 944 km2 remains with the vegetation cover. There are 264 mammals, and 72 of them are endemic. Also, there are 934 birds’ species, and 144 of these are endemic. The species of reptiles total to 311, of which 94 of them are endemic. There are also 456 amphibians, and 282 of these are endemic (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). Its unique biodiversity is composed of more than 10 percent of endangered vertebrate species, which maintain their survival in this region.

They include; three species of lion tamarins (Leontopithecus spp) and six bird species confined to part of the forest near Murici ecological station in northeastern Brazil, others being extinct like the Alagoas curassow. Human activities are responsible for the destruction of the habitat, and it began in the 16th century when Portuguese, French, and Spanish established their settlements along the Atlantic coast. Forests were destroyed to provide timber and create more room for ranches and sugarcane plantations. The rapid population growth is also a contributing factor to this mass habitat destruction creating room for settlements.

Several mitigation measures have been undertaken to curb this destruction. Strict measures have been put by the Brazilian government. Furthermore, conservation has received a boost in terms of funding, and the process has a large body of well-trained conservation professionals.

Another hotspot region in our focus is the Indo Burma of tropical Asia east of the Ganges Brahmaputra lowlands, and it covers 2, 373, 000 km2 (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). The remaining vegetation covers about 118, 653 km2 of the total area. In the last twelve years, six large mammal species have been discovered which are not found anywhere else in the world. They include “the large – antlered muntjac, the Annamite muntjac, the grey – shanked douc, the Annamite striped rabbit, the leaf deer and the saola” (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). The region also boasts with the endangered freshwater turtle species, which are under a threat of extinction due to over-harvesting and destroyed habitat. There are 1, 300 birds’ species, including the “white-eared night-heron, the Grey-crowned crocias, and the orange-necked partridge.” Thirty-five amphibians are deemed to be under threat, and one other species is extinct.

Indo Burma was a place of agriculture since its historical times. The fire was used to clear away and prepare the land for different needs, for example, agriculture. The region has experienced a rising population increase since its early times; thus, more land has been cleared to provide room for settlements. Aquatic ecosystems have also been drained to provide room for rice cultivation, therefore, destroying the habitats. Mangroves have been converted to shrimp aquacultural ponds.

The government has stepped in to conserve 236, 000 km2 (Biodiversity hotspots, 2008). These protected areas were established in 1960. The Royal Forest Department, which was established in 1896, is still working. Funds have been allocated to staffing and infrastructural development in the protected areas.

Works Cited

Biodiversity hotspots. Hotspot science. Interactive map. 2008. Web.

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