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Can biodiversity hotspots protect more than tropical forest plants and vertebrates?

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Conservation International's biodiversity hotspots are areas of high vascular plant endemism combined with high levels of habitat destruction and land use change. Although such hotspots have also been shown to be centres for terrestrial vertebrate endemism, much less is known about how well these areas function as hotspots for other less well‐studied groups, including the hyperdiverse arthropods, other invertebrates and fungi. Because there is a close evolutionary and ecological relationship between insects and plants, we suggest that the potential role of plants as umbrella species for herbivorous insects, potentially herbivorous fungi and nematodes, and parasitic insects should be explored. Finally, we reflect on the increasing social, economic, human conflict and governance issues and the impacts of increasing land use change and global climate change that threaten the biodiversity hotspot system.

Keywords: Conservation International's hotspots; Conservation biogeography; endemic species; global change; invertebrate diversity; plant diversity; species richness; strategic conservation planning; umbrella species

Document Type: Guest Editorial


Publication date: March 1, 2014

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