Five hotbeds of biodiversity

Biodiversity is biological diversity - an area having a large number of varied life forms.  Biologists and conservation groups are concerned with regions deemed ‘biodiversity hotspots,’ which are threatened.  Hotspots require two main criteria: at least 1500 vascular plant species(that have a system to transport nutrients and water) with over half endemic to the region, or found only there.  They also have lost over 70% of their original habitat. Here are five of the highest biodiversity ecologies still over 70% intact in the world as identified by Conservation International, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Arlington, VA.

Sources: Conservation International,, and Permanent Mission of the Congo to the United Nations

1. Amazon Rain Forest

Bob Walker/Michigan State University/AP
This undated photo released by Michigan State University shows a shaded waterway in the western basin of Brazil's vast Amazon rain forest.

The Amazon wilderness, which spans nine countries, is renowned for its superlatives: 40,000 plant species, of which the majority are not found anywhere else.  It is also home to more primate species anywhere in the world, possibly more insects as well.  The Brazilian government said in December 2011 that deforestation rates in the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, had fallen to the lowest levels since 1988.

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