"The new hotspots analysis ensures that we will continue to direct conservation funds to the areas where we can have the greatest possible impact," said Peter Seligmann, CEO and chairman of the board of CI. "It also points out the need for additional resources to address the new priority areas that have been identified."
CI already works in most of the existing hotspots and plans to expand its programs into some of the new hotspots, including the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands. "We have already begun looking seriously at the U.S.-Mexico border area," Mittermeier said. "We are trying to identify the best ways to leverage scientific knowledge and the expertise of partner organizations to conserve this region for the benefit of not only its plant and animal species, but also for the millions of people whose well-being is tied to its ecological health."
The Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands hotspot is a 178,095-square-mile area encompassing Mexico's main mountain chains, some isolated mountaintops in Baja California, and a few scattered patches in the southern United States (represented by the Madrean Sky Islands, a series of about 40 mountain-tops in southern Arizona and New Mexico, and other mountaintops in Texas, including part of Big Bend National Park).
This hotspot is home to about 5,300 flowering plant species (of which almost 4,000 are endemics), about a third of the world's oak and pine tree species, and over 1,500 vertebrate species (including 134 endemic species). Among many charismatic flagship species in the region is the volcano rabbit or zacatuche (Romerolagus diazi), one of the world's smallest r