- A biodiversity hotspot is a bio geographic region that is both a significant reservoir of biodiversity and is threatened with destruction.
- A biodiversity hotspot is a bio geographic region with significant levels of biodiversity that is under threat from humans.
World’s Biodiversity hotspots :
The below table giving an overview of the total 35 world’s hotspots of each country area :
|Country area||Total hotspots|
|Europe and Central Asia||4|
|North and Central US||4|
- Africa’s 8 biodiversity hotspots includes the diversity of the animal and plant life which are found nowhere on earth.
- Asia-Pacific hotspots large land areas and seas, These are the most important biodiversity hotspots.
- Europe and Central Asia include the unique diversity hotspots from the Mediterranean Basin to the Mountains of Central Asia.
- North and Central US includes the important large land area for habitat.
- South US hotspots include the one of the richest diverse hotspots from Brazil’s Cerrado to the Tropical Andes.
The Biodiversity hotspots in India that includes the following :
- Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
- There are different Initiatives has been taken for Hotspot conservation which are explained below :
Biodiversity hotspot has become the serious issue from the last decade as the only small part of the total land area within hotspots is protected. There are few international organizations are working to save the biodiversity hotspots.
- To protect the Earth’s fertile regions of plants and animal diversity as biodiversity hotspots, The internationally recognized global program has introduced as Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) which provides the funding and technical assistance to NGOs.
- Each of the Biodiversity hotspots contains at least one of the Global 200 Eco region. (Here, Eco region is nothing but the large land area or sea which contains the geographically distinct species, Natural communities and environmental conditions) Global 200 Eco region has the aim to select 14 terrestrial, 3 freshwater and 4 marine habitat. Hence it was chosen for the distinctiveness.
- From all over the world, Birdlife International has observed more than 11,000 important Birds. Also there are 218 “Endemic Bird Areas” (EBAs) in which there are 2 or more bird species exists.
- Including the large number of the Bird areas, The Plant life International have identified the 595 sites for the important plant areas and also focuses on the endemic species of the world which are under threat.
- The detailed information map on Biodiversity Hotspots including the endangered fauna in each hotspot, has been prepared by the National Geographic Society
Reasons for biodiversity loss in hotspots :
There are four main reasons why species are being threatened in these biodiversity hotspots :
|Habitat Destruction||From the last few decades, The population has been increased exponentially. The pollution as well as the infrastructure has increased. In this way, Agriculture and cutting trees has been impacted and caused Habitat Destruction.|
|Resource Mismanagement||Tourists are unaware of the pollution and environmental degradation caused by them and make it dirty. Famous pilgrimage destinations like Rishikesh and hill stations like Dehradoon are also under threat because of resource mismanagement.
|Poaching||Conservationists has made an effort to stabilize the numbers of mammals such as the tiger, rhinoceros and the elephant which were once in the complete extinction zone. But still today elephant tusks, tiger teeth and rhinoceros horn are traded with great profitable margin.|
|Climate Change||Government of India has been observing that the climate change may affect the temperatures, Rainfalls and water tables in western ghats. Also the Himalayan glaciers are melting in 20 years which adversely affect the temperature and causing the climate change.|
Recent extinctions In the last few years :
- Having said that the extinctions is the gravest aspect of the biodiversity crisis which is irreversible. extinction is a natural process but the human activity has made and elevated the extinctions on Earth.
- The major extinctions that has happened in the past recent years is for the land and forest resources by humans for their warfare. Cutting trees for the human habitat is not a big deal for them. Hence the species like Indian and Asiatic cheetah, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros are in extinction. Few of them has been confirmed that are extinct and not seen or even heard further.
- A species of grass called as “Hubbardia heptaneuron” grew in the spray zone of the Jog Falls prior to the construction of the Linganamakki reservoir were rediscovered near Kolhapur in Maharashtra which was thought to be extinct earlier.
- A bird species like Pink-headed duck, Himalayan Quail have gone extinct in the recent times.
- In this way, There have been major impact on Land, Forests and living creatures like birds.
- There are lots of criticism going on for Biodiversity hotspots in which papers such as Kareiva & Marvier have argued in 2003 :
- That biodiversity hotspots do not sufficiently represent the other form of species richness like total species richness or threatened ones.
- Biodiversity hotspots do not adequately represent the taxa other than vascular plants such as vertebrates or fungi.
- Moreover, it does not protect smaller scale richness hotspots, Ecosystem services and phylogenetic diversity.
- Hotspots that have experienced the habitat loss but it does not mean that it has ongoing habitat loss and vice versa. Apart from this, The regions relatively intact such as Amazon Basin have experienced the relatively little land loss but presently losing the habitat with very higher rates.
- The recent searches of paper has been pointed out that biodiversity hotspots do not address the concept of cost.
- Each hotspots facing the serious threat that has lost 70% of its original natural vegetation. Moreover the biodiversity hotspots hold the higher number for the endemic species in which their combined area of the remaining habitat covers only 2.3% of the Earth’s land surface
- The bottom line of the Biodiversity hotspots is that it is not simply to identify the regions having the high biodiversity value but also to prioritize conservation spending.