The British biologist Norman Myers coined the term "biodiversity hotspot" in 1988 as a biogeographic region characterized both by exceptional levels of plant endemism and by serious levels of habitat loss. In 1990 Myers added a further eight hotspots, including four Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Conservation International (CI) adopted Myers’ hotspots as its institutional blueprint in 1989, and in 1996, the organization made the decision to undertake a reassessment of the hotspots concept. Three years later an extensive global review was undertaken, which introduced quantitative thresholds for the designation of biodiversity hotspots:
According to CI, 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 percent of the world’s total) as endemics, and it has to have lost at least 70 percent of its original habitat. In 1999, CI identified 25 biodiversity hotspots in the book Hotspots: Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions. Collectively, these areas held as endemics about 44 percent of the world’s plants and 35 percent of terrestrial vertebrates in an area that formerly covered only 11.8 percent of the planet’s land surface. The habitat extent of this land area had been reduced by 87.8 percent of its original extent, such that this wealth of biodiversity was restricted to only 1.4 percent of Earth’s land surface. In 2005 CI published an updated titled Hotspots Revisited: Earth's Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions.
This Collection contains the descriptions of the 34 regions from the revised hotspot list.
Europe and Central Asia
North and Central America