Identification and protection of terrestrial global biodiversity hotspots: progress and challenges
Forestry and Ecology Department, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, India
Abstract: Due to ever-increasing demand on the natural resources, earth is on the verge of a global mass extinction. The biodiversity hotspots are the remnant natural areas of high terrestrial biodiversity which are rapidly degrading and constitute more than half of the global endemic species in approximately 2% of the global land area which requires conservation and protection along with effort to identify new areas. Presently, data gaps and nonavailability of adequate information across the biodiversity hotspots has resulted in unsustainable commercial exploitation in these areas. In this paper, effort has been made to assess the status of the various biodiversity hotspots across the globe with respect to the geographic distribution, the area under natural vegetation, concentration of endemic plants, and the human development index in these areas. Monitoring such a large extent across the globe has its difficulties. The use of recent tools and technologies including earth observation systems and information technology can help in monitoring and identification of the global biodiversity hotspots and help in conservation and protection of these areas. It is suggested to identify the biodiversity-rich areas at a coarse scale and have a detailed study of the biodiversity-rich areas to design appropriate conservation and protection of the biodiversity hotspots.
Keywords: biodiversity hotspots, monitoring, earth observation systems, conservation
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