Thursday, February 3, 2011

The World's 10 Most Threatened Forest Hotspots

#5 in Conservation International's World’s 10 Most Threatened Forest Hotspots

“The Atlantic Forest stretches along Brazil's Atlantic coast and extends to parts of Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. Also included in this hotspot is the offshore archipelago of Fernando de Noronha and several other islands off the Brazilian coast. This hotspot boasts 20,000 plant species, 40 percent of which are endemic. Yet, less than 10 percent of the forest remains. More than two dozen Critically Endangered vertebrate species are clinging to survival in the region, including lion tamarins and six bird species that are restricted to the small patch of forest in northeastern Brazil. Beginning with sugarcane plantations and later, coffee plantations, this region has been losing habitat for hundreds of years. Now, with the increased expansion of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the Atlantic Forest is facing severe pressure from the issues tied to urbanization. Over 100 million people and industries that make up the vast majority of the country’s economic output, including manufacturing, agriculture, cattle ranching and timber harvesting, are dependent on the remnant forest cover for their supply of fresh water”.  Courtesy of Conservation International (CI) as published in the New York Times on Feb. 2, 2011.

The accompanying blogpost-article in the NY Times.  Be forewarned, apparently there is a problem with the figures given for the square miles of forests, both for 8,000 years ago, and the current remaining forests.  Thanks, Holly Porter-Morgan, for sending the links!
Check out the other 9 hotspots.  #1 Hotspot: Southeast Asia (Indo-Burma Hotspot); #2: New Zealand; #3: Sundaland (parts of Indonesia and Borneo); #4: Philippines; #5: Atlantic Forest hotspot in Brazil; #6: Mountains of Southwest China; #7: California Floristic Province; #8: Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa (coastal areas of Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique); #9: Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands; #10: Eastern AfroMontane (parts of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen).


  1. I live in the California Floristic Province, #7 on the list, and it certainly is in danger.
    Human history was hard on our area. I live in the mixed Conifer Forest (Cedar, Pine, Fir and Redwood) and much of the forest is new growth as the Gold Rush and later development took much of the old forest away. We are just beginning to learn what that means for the total environment but we know that the massively destructive forest fires of the 20th century are one result.
    Now we face other threats: corporate ownership of vast tracts of forest lands. One corporation controls that majority of forest land in my county, and my state.
    The corporations argue that they are good stewards of the land, but they also argue that clear-cutting, herbicides, and mono-cultural plantations can replace mixed forests without significant impact on habitat and the environment.
    The politicians, lured by an army of lobbyists and a chest full of campaign donations, tend to let them do whatever they want.
    It is hard to see this changing any time soon.

  2. Thanks, Sanders, for filling in more of the story on the California Floristic Province. It is criminal what has been done, and what continues to be done, to these areas, and of course, many other places that aren't even on the "top 10" list.

  3. hello people of the world