Biodiversity Hotspots and Biodiversity Hopespots in India


  • biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with significant levels of biodiversity that is threatened by human habitation.
  • Conservation International was a pioneer in defining and promoting the concept of hotspots.
  • In 1989, just one year after scientist Norman Myers wrote the paper that introduced the hotspots concept.
  • Many of the biodiversity hotspots exceed the two criteria. For example, both the Sundaland Hotspot in Southeast Asia and the Tropical Andes Hotspot in South America have about 15,000 endemic plant species.
  • The loss of vegetation in some hotspots has reached a startling 95
  • Around the world, 36 areas qualify as hotspots. They represent just 4% of Earth’s land surface, but they support more than half of the world’s plant species as endemics — i.e., species found no place else — and nearly 43% of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species as endemics.
  • Biodiversity Hotspots and Biodiversity Hopespots in India

To qualify as a biodiversity hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria:

  • It must have at least 0.5% or 1,500 vascular plants as endemics — which is to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet. A hotspot, in other words, is irreplaceable.
  • It must have 30% or less of its original natural vegetation. In other words, it must be threatened.


  • Himalaya: Includes the entire Indian Himalayan region (and that falling in Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Myanmar).
  • Indo-Burma: Includes entire North-eastern India, except Assam and Andaman group of Islands (and Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and southern China).
  • Sundaland: Includes Nicobar group of Islands (and Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines).
  • The Western Ghats and Sri Lanka: Includes entire Western Ghats (and Sri Lanka).
  • Fact to Know: Except Himalaya Hotspot, other biodiversity hotspots in India have been declared as the hottest hotspot.

Hotspot Conservation Initiatives:

  • Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund(CEPF) is a global program that provides funding and technical assistance to nongovernmental organizations and participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity including: biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and important marine regions. The fund is a joint program of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature has derived a system called the “Global 200 Ecoregions”, the aim of which is to select priority Ecoregions for conservation within each of 14 terrestrial, 3 freshwater, and 4 marine habitat types. They are chosen for their species richness, endemism, taxonomic uniqueness, unusual ecological or evolutionary phenomena, and global rarity. All biodiversity hotspots contain at least one Global 200 Ecoregion.
  • Birdlife International has identified 218 “Endemic Bird Areas” (EBAs) each of which hold two or more bird species found nowhere else. Birdlife International has identified more than 11,000 Important Bird Areas all over the world.
  • Plant life International coordinates several the world aiming to identify Important Plant Areas.
  • Alliance for Zero Extinction is an initiative of many scientific organizations and conservation groups who co-operate to focus on the most threatened endemic species of the world. They have identified 595 sites, including many Birdlife’s Important Bird Areas.
  • The National Geographic Society has prepared a world map of the hotspots and ArcView shapefile and metadata for the Biodiversity Hotspots including details of the individual endangered fauna in each hotspot, which is available from Conservation International.


  • There is currently a total of 76 Hope Spots around the world.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands have recently been named as the new “hope spots” from India. In Lakshadweep group of islands, Pitti (0.01 square kilometer) is the only island that has marine protected areas (MPA) tag.
  • About 12 per cent of land around the world is under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments) while less than one per cent of the oceans is protected.
  • As per IUCN definition, a hope spot is an area of an ocean that needs special protection because of its wildlife and significant underwater habitats.
  • Led by legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition.
  • Mission Blue is a global coalition to create public awareness, to access and support for a worldwide network of Marine Protected Areas ie Hope Spots .The Aim of mission blue to create  Hope Spots  to increase the protection of ocean ecology. Mission Blue organisation is led by oceanographer Dr.Sylvia Earle.

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