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Most of world's 'missing species' live in known hotspots
Date:7/4/2011

be discovered in regions around the world. They then compared those estimates with regions currently identified as global conservation priorities. The two sets matched.

Six regions already identified by conservation scientists as hotspots Mexico to Panama; Colombia; Ecuador to Peru; Paraguay and Chile southward; southern Africa; and Australia were estimated by the models to contain 70 percent of all predicted missing species. Only two regions with high estimates of missing species the region from Angola to Zimbabwe, and the northern Palearctic, which encompasses parts of Europe and Asia contained no biodiversity hotspots.

"It was a huge relief that those places in which we are already investing our resources are also those which house the majority of the world's undiscovered species," says David Roberts of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. "It didn't have to turn out that way!"

Norman Myers of Oxford University and the originator of the "hotspots" idea, says, "these findings really validate all of the time and effort I have put into fighting for the preservation of the world's biodiversity. Now we can get on with trying to save these unique and threatened places."

While showing that conservation action is already directed at the most appropriate places, the study's results bring an increased sense of urgency to the global extinction crisis.

The authors stress that results like these make it even more important to effectively conserve large areas of land.

"How can you save a species you don't even know exists?" asks Joppa. "You can't. But you can protect places where you predict they occur."


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Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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