Hot spots are those key areas of the world that have great biodiversity and high levels of endemism and are under immediate threat of extinction of species and habitat destruction.
In order to establish priorities for conservation efforts, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Bird life international, Conservation International and others, have attempted to identify the key areas of the world called “hot spots” for preservation.
Mittermeier et al. (1999) identified 25 global hot spots that together encompass the entire range of 44% of the world’s plant species, 28% of the bird species, 30% of the mammal species, 38% of the reptile species, and 54% of the amphibian species, on only 1.4% of the Earth’s total land surface. Because these hot spots also include more widespread species they actually include about 2/3rd of all non-fish vertebrates on the planet. Out of 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world, India has two-one in the Northeast and the other in Western Ghats.
Types of hot spot areas
1. Tropical rain forest areas: Many of these hotspots located globally are tropical rain forest
areas such as – Atlantic Coast of Brazil, the Choco/Darien/Western Equador
region/Mesoamerica, the Guinean forest of West Africa, the Westrern Ghats of India and the
Indo Burma region.
2. Island areas: The Island areas included among these hotspots are- the Caribbean region, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, the Sundaland and Wallace region of Malayasia and Indonesia, thePhilippines, New Celedonia, New-Zealand, and the Polynesia region.
3. Warm, seasonally dry areas in the temperate zones: Hotspots located in the warm, seasonally dry areas in the temperate zones, include Mediterranean Basin, the California region, Central Chile, the Cape reion of South Africa, the Caucasus region and South West Australia.
4. Dry forest areas: Hotspot areas are the dry forests and savannahs of the Brazilian cerrado, the eastern mountains of Kenya and Tanzania, the tropical Andes, and mountains of South Central Asia.
5. Tropical Andes: This is one of the earth’s major centre of biodiversity in which 45000 plant species, 1666 bird species, 414 mammal species, 479 reptile species, and 830 amphibian species persist in tropical forest and high altitutde grassland on less than one quarter of one percent of the Earth’s total land surface.