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Conservation International biodiversity hotspot article on Perreault Magazine

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria: It must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemics — which is to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found Nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in
other words, is irreplaceable. It must have 30% or less of its original
natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened. Around the world, 35 areas qualify as hotspots. They represent just 2.3% of Earth’s land surface, but they support more than half of the world’s plant species as endemics—i.e., species found no place else — and nearly 43% of bird, mammal,
reptile and amphibian species as endemics. The map of hotspots overlaps extraordinarily well with the map of the natural places that most benefit people. That’s because hotspots are among the richest and most important ecosystems in the world — and they are home to many vulnerable populations who are directly

dependent on nature to survive. Conservation International was a pioneer in defining and promoting the concept of hotspots. In 1989, just one year after scientist Norman Myers wrote the paper that introduced the hotspots concept, CI adopted the idea of protecting these incredible places as the guiding principle of their investments. For nearly two decades thereafter, hotspots were the blueprint for CI’s work. Today, CI’s mission has expanded beyond the protection of hotspots. They recognize that it is not enough to protect species and places; for humanity to survive and thrive, the protection of nature must be a fundamental part of every human society.

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