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    7 Biodiversity Hotspots Around the World That You Should Know

    by One Tree Planted May 28, 2024 3 min read

    tropical bird biodiversity
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    7 Biodiversity Hotspots Around The World That You Should Know

    There are an estimated 8.7 million species of plants and animals on Earth. Each of these species have evolved to thrive in specific environmental conditions. An area is considered a biodiversity hotspot when it has a high concentration of endemic (found nowhere else) species. Today, there are 36 biodiversity hotspots around the world that contain 44% of the world’s plants and 35% of land vertebrates. Unfortunately, many of these areas are under pressure from human activity.

    The top five threats to global biodiversity are invasive species, climate change, habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, and pollution. In the context of a changing climate and a growing global population, it's critical to protect and restore biodiversity hotspots. They represent a safe haven, providing unique habitat conditions that may not exist anywhere else on Earth. 

    Read below to learn more about seven of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots!

    7 Biodiversity Hotspots Around The World You Should Know:

    1. Madagascar

    Madagascar, which split from mainland Africa over 150 million years ago, is the world’s fourth-largest island. Because it has been an island for tens of millions of years, scientists estimate that 85% of the island's animals and 90% of the plants are endemic — meaning they can be found nowhere else on Earth. The primary biodiversity threats in Madagascar are overexploitation and unsustainable agriculture.

    2. Brazil’s Atlantic Forest Region

    Stretching along the eastern coast of Brazil, the Atlantic Forest region is considered Latin America’s second most important biome (a distinct geographical region with specific climate, vegetation, and animal life), after the Amazon Forest. Comprised of 15 distinct eco regions, the Atlantic Forest contains 298 species of mammals, 475 species of amphibians, 1,023 species of birds and 20,000 species of plants. With only 12% of the original vegetation remaining, the top threat to this highly endangered biome is human activity.

    3. The California Floristic Province

    Stretching from Baja California northward to Southern Oregon, California's Floristic Province is home to some of the tallest trees in the world — and over 8,000 plant species. The coastline’s unique trees include the giant sequoia and the coastal redwood, both of which are endangered. Threats to this biodiversity hotspot include development, forest fires, and climate change.

    4. South Africa’s Cape Floral Region

    This region of South Africa contains 9,000 species of plants, 69% of which are found nowhere else in the world. Notable plants in the Floral Region include the king protea (South Africa’s national flower), and Fynbos vegetation, a fine-leaved shrubland that has adapted to periodic fires and is unique to the region. The main threats to South Africa’s Cape Floral Region include invasive species, forest fires, climate change, and development pressure.

    5. The Philippines

    A cluster of more than 7,000 islands, found north of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is commonly referred to as “Asia’s Pearl of the Orient.” The Convention on Biological Diversity estimates that 5% of the world's plant species grow there — and half of the wildlife species found on the islands are endemic to them. This biodiversity hotspot contains some of the highest concentrations of critically endangered species on the planet, but faces a number of threats — including over harvesting, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation

    6. Thailand

    If you’ve ever vacationed in Thailand, you know why this beautiful country has made the list! As one of the most biodiversity-rich countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand contains 15,000 plant species, making up 8% of the global total. Unique animal species that call Thailand home include the Asian Elephant, Sunda Pangolin and Indochinese Tiger. Thailand’s rich biodiversity faces many threats, including illegal hunting and other human activities, unsustainable agriculture, overfishing, pollution, climate change, and habitat loss.

    7. The Tropical Andes

    This region extends from western Venezuela to northern Chile and Argentina, and includes portions of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. The Tropical Andes contains the most diverse range of species in the world — including one sixth of all plant species on Earth. Threats to the Tropical Andes include logging, agricultural expansion, and mining and oil extraction

    We are working across the globe to restore forests in and near many of these biodiversity hotspots. When you plant trees for biodiversity, you're helping to restore critical habitat for species — some of which are threatened or endangered. Remember, every tree makes a positive impact!

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