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Biodiversity hotspots

Map No.


Diversity – biological as well as social, linguistic and cultural diversity – is the central to sustainable development and human welfare. It also is key to resilience – the ability of natural and social systems to adapt to change. Biodiversity therefore is an integral part of the diversity of our lives, linking human and physical environments of our planet. The hotspots of biodiversity identified by Conservation International aim to draw a picture of the richest and the most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth.
Shown in this map are the major biodiversity hotspot regions in relation to the global population distribution. The map shows a gridded population cartogram which gives equal space to each person living on this planet. It therefore is a representation of the most threatened unique ecosystems in their setting in and around human populations. This gives one insight into the immediate human impact on these vulnerable areas of the world’s biosphere.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

This map shows the land surface resized by its population overlaid with data about biodiversity hotspot regions. Each transformed grid cell in the map is proportional to the total number of people living in that area.

Data sources
This map uses population estimates for the year 2020 based on data from the Gridded Population of the World (GPW), v4 at 0.25 degree resolution, released by SEDAC (Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center). The map overlay is based on data by Conservation International provided at Spatial-Analyst (accessed 2012).
The biodiversity hotspots that are used in this map were described in the following publication:
Mittermeier, R.A., P.R. Gil, M. Hoffman, J. Pilgrim, T. Brooks, C.G. Mittermeier, J. Lamoreux & G.A.B. da Fonseca. 2005. Hotspots revisited. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

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