Introduction The continuing rapid loss of biological diversity is leading conservationists to sharpen their priorities and to target the limited funds available so as to ensure the survival of as many different species as possible. An increasingly popular approach, which has captured the imagination of the general public and policymakers alike, is the identification of biological hotspots—areas containing an exceptional concentration of biodiversity, measured by species richness, species endemism, number of threatened species, degree of habitat loss, or some surrogate for one or more of these methods. A high‐profile example is the listing of 25 regional hotspots by Mittermeier et al. ( 1999 ) , a valuable compendium of information on the distribution of biodiversity based on contributions by more than 100 scientists. Their criteria for inclusion are twofold: an area must contain at least 1500 endemic vascular plant species ( 0.5% of an estimated global total of 300,000 ) and the remaining primary vegetation should be no more than 30% of its original extent. Data on the diversity of vascular plants and non‐fish vertebrates are clearly presented and subjected to a series of simple analyses, ranking hotspots first by both absolute numbers of species and number of
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 2003
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