What are Biodiversity Hotspots and their Prominent Locations in India?

  • Any biogeographic region rich in biodiversity facing the threat of destruction is termed as a Biodiversity Hotspot.
  • The term Biodiversity Hotspot was first coined by Norman Myers in his article “The Environmentalist” in 1988.
  • He wrote another article “Hotspots: Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions” where he discussed the concept in detail.
  • The objective to identify Biodiversity Hotspots on a global scale is to protect and conserve these biodiversity rich areas.
  • There are total 36 Biodiversity Hotspots in the world.

Table 1: List of Biodiversity Hotspots

North and Central America1. California Floristic Province   2. Madrean pine-oak woodlands 3. Mesoamaerica 4. North American Coastal Plain
The Caribbean5. Caribbean islands
South America6. Alantic Forest   7. Cerrado 8. Chilean Winter Rainfal-Valdivian Forest 9. Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena 10. Tropical Andes
Europe11. Mediterranean Basin
Africa12. Cape Floristic Region   13. Coastal Forest of Eastern Africa 14. Eastern Afromontane 15. Guinean Forest of West Africa 16. Horn of Africa 17. Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands 18. Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany 19. Succulent Karoo
Central Asia20. Mountains of Central Asia
South Asia21. Eastern Himalayas   22. Indo Burma, India and Myanmar
23. Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
South East Asia and Asia Pacific24. East Melanesian Islands   25. New Caledonia 26. New Zealand 27. Philippines 28. Polynesia-Micronesia 29. Eastern Australia Temperate Forest 30. South West Australia 31. Sundaland and Nicobar Islands of India 32. Wallacea
East Asia33. Japan   34. Mountains of Southwest China
West Asia35. Caucasus   36. Irano-Antolian
Biodiversity Hotspots
Source: Conservation International 2005

India shares 4 major Biodiversity Hotspots in the world.

Eastern Himalayas

  • Includes the entire Indian Himalayan region (also includes parts of Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar)
  • High endemism of plants up to 31.6 % and that of Amphibians and reptiles 40% and 27.3% respectively
  • Himalayan Quail, Cheer pheasant, Western Tragopan are some endemic species found here
Biodiversity Hotspots
Source: Assessment of freshwater molluscs of the Eastern Himalaya hotspot – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Eastern-Himalaya-freshwater-biodiversity-assessment-region_fig1_325425969 [accessed 9 Oct, 2019]

Sundaland

  • Includes Nicobar group of islands and south-east Asian countries of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines
  • Some endemic species found here are hawk-eagles, Bali starlings, Pig-tailed langurs, Slender toads, Komodo dragons, Asian arowanas, and Proboscis monkeys etc
Biodiversity Hotspots
Source: http://phsyiography-indonesia.blogspot.com/2014/08/sundaland.html

Western Ghats and Sri Lanka

  • Includes Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
  • Some endemic species are Lion tailed Macaque, crimson backed sunbird etc.
  • Plant Endemism is 51.5% and that of Amphibians, Reptiles and freshwater fishes is 73%, 65.2% and 72.8% respectively
Biodiversity Hotspots
Source: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Conservation International Report 2011

Indo- Burma and India

  • Includes entire North-eastern India, except Assam and Andaman group of Islands (and Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and southern China)
  • Eld’s deer, Cat Ba langur, Fishing cat, Giant ibis, Mekong giant catfish are some endangered species present in this area
Biodiversity Hotspots
Source: Conservation International, 2007

Related sources: What are Corals?, Particulate Matter

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