RESOURCES: Tour the Strongholds of Biodiversity

Science  11 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5592, pp. 329
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5592.329d

Evolution plays favorites. Only 25 small areas, known as biodiversity hotspots, boast nearly half of the world's plant species and more than one-third of its vertebrates. Conservationists treasure these havens of biodiversity because each one nurtures an abundance of unique species. Visit the hotspots with this new online atlas, which expands on an analysis published 2 years ago by Conservation International, based in Washington, D.C.

Packed with facts and figures, the atlas whisks you around the globe to places like California, Madagascar, West Africa, and the Atlantic coastal forests of South America, which host some 20,000 plant species. You can meet some of the novel organisms in places like New Zealand, home to flightless nocturnal parrots, rare ferns, crickets the size of mice, and multilegged velvet worms. People are rapidly destroying habitat in the hotspots, and the site provides the latest on conservation measures and continuing threats. For example, to protect some New Zealand natives from ravenous invasive species, conservationists have transplanted all the remaining individuals to predator-free islands.

www.biodiversityhotspots.org/xp/Hotspots

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