Global Biodiversity Conservation: The Critical Role of Hotspots

  • Russell A. Mittermeier
  • Will R. Turner
  • Frank W. Larsen
  • Thomas M. Brooks
  • Claude Gascon


Global changes, from habitat loss and invasive species to anthropogenic climate change, have initiated the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth’s history. As species become threatened and vanish, so too do the broader ecosystems and myriad benefits to human well-being that depend upon biodiversity. Bringing an end to global biodiversity loss requires that limited available resources be guided to those regions that need it most. The biodiversity hotspots do this based on the conservation planning principles of irreplaceability and vulnerability. Here, we review the development of the hotspots over the past two decades and present an analysis of their biodiversity, updated to the current set of 35 regions. We then discuss past and future efforts needed to conserve them, sustaining their fundamental role both as the home of a substantial fraction of global biodiversity and as the ultimate source of many ecosystem services upon which humanity depends.


Ecosystem Service Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Terrestrial Vertebrate Global Environment Facility Essential Science Indicator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell A. Mittermeier
    • 1
  • Will R. Turner
    • 1
  • Frank W. Larsen
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Brooks
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Claude Gascon
    • 5
  1. 1.Conservation InternationalArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.NatureServeArlingtonUSA
  3. 3.World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)University of the Philippines Los BañosLagunaPhilippines
  4. 4.School of Geography and Environmental StudiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  5. 5.National Fish and Wildlife FoundationWashingtonUSA

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