Article

Nature 403, 853-858 (24 February 2000) | doi:10.1038/35002501; Received 22 September 1999; Accepted 22 December 1999

Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities

See associated Correspondence: Kumar, Nature 491, 333 (November 2012)

Norman Myers1, Russell A. Mittermeier2, Cristina G. Mittermeier2, Gustavo A. B. da Fonseca3 & Jennifer Kent4

  1. Green College, Oxford University, Upper Meadow, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 8SZ, UK
  2. Conservation International, 2501 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
  3. Centre for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International, 2501 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
  4. 35 Dorchester Close, Headington, Oxford OX3 8SS, UK

Correspondence to: Norman Myers1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to N.M. (e-mail: Email: myers1n@aol.com).

Top

Conservationists are far from able to assist all species under threat, if only for lack of funding. This places a premium on priorities: how can we support the most species at the least cost? One way is to identify 'biodiversity hotspots' where exceptional concentrations of endemic species are undergoing exceptional loss of habitat. As many as 44% of all species of vascular plants and 35% of all species in four vertebrate groups are confined to 25 hotspots comprising only 1.4% of the land surface of the Earth. This opens the way for a 'silver bullet' strategy on the part of conservation planners, focusing on these hotspots in proportion to their share of the world's species at risk.