Chapter: Environmental Science and Engineering

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Hot-Spots of Biodiversity

A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is threatened with destruction.

HOT- SPOTS OF BIODIVERSITY

 

v   A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is threatened with destruction.

v   An area is designated as a hot spot when it contains at least 0.5% of plant species as endemic.


v   There are 25 such hot spots of biodiversity on a global level, out of which two are present in India.


v   These are: Indo- Burma (earlier The Eastern Himalayas) ,The western Ghats & Sri Lanka..


v   These hot spots covering less than 2% of the world’s land area are found to have about 50% of the terrestrial biodiversity.

 

Criteria for determining hot-spots

v   No. of Endemic Species i.e. the species which are found no where else.

v   Degree of threat, which is measured in terms of Habitat loss.


E.g. Indo- Burma (Eastern Himalayas) Hotspot


v   The hotspot includes all of Cambodia, Vietnam & Laos, and nearly the entire areas of Thailand, Myanmar & Bhutan as well as part of Nepal, far eastern India and extreme southern China.


v   In addition, it covers several offshore Islands including Mainan Islands in the south China Sea and Andaman & Nicobar Islands in Indian Ocean.


v   Indo-Burma is one of the most threatened biodiversity hotspots, due to the rate of resource exploitation and habitat loss.

 

E.g. Western Ghats and Sri Lanka

 

v   Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, also known as the “Sahyadri Hills” encompasses the montane forests in the southwestern parts of India and on the neighboring Islands of Sri Lanka.

 

 

v   The entire extent of hotspot was originally about 1,82,500 square kms, but due to tremendous population pressure, now only 12,445 square Km or 6.8% is in pristine condition.


v   The important populations include Asian elephant, Indian tigers and the endangered lion tailed macaque.


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