Biodiversity Hotspots

What are Biodiversity Hotspots?
  • The British biologist Norman Myers coined the term “biodiversity hotspot” in 1988.
  • They are the biogeographic regions characterised both by exceptional levels of plant endemism and by serious levels of habitat loss.
  • To qualify as a hotspot a region must meet two strict criteria:
    • It must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5% of the world’s total) as endemics.
    • It has to have lost at least 70% of its original habitat.
Biodiversity Hotspots in India:
  • Himalayas: 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)
  • Sundalands: Includes Nicobar group of Islands (and Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines)
  • Western Ghats and Sri Lanka: Includes entire Western Ghats (and Sri Lanka)
Previously asked questions in UPSC prelims:
Question 1:
Three of the following criteria have contributed to the recognition of Western Ghats-Sri Lanka and Indo-Burma regions as hotspots of biodiversity (2011)
1. Species richness
2. Vegetation density
3. Endemism
4. Ethno- botanical importance
5. Threat perception
6. Adaptation of flora and fauna to warm and humid conditions
Which three of the above are correct criteria in this context?
(a) 1, 2 and 6
(b) 2, 4 and 6
(c) 1, 3 and 5
(d) 3, 4 and 6
Correct answer: c
Question 2:
Which of the following can be threats to the biodiversity of a geographical area?(2012)
1. Global warming
2. Fragmentation of habitat
3. Invasion of alien species
4. Promotion of vegetarianism
Select the correct answer using the codes given below :
(a) 1, 2 and 3 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Correct answer: a
Section : Environment & Ecology