Cover image for Hotspots : earth's biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions
Hotspots : earth's biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions
Mittermeier, Russell A.
Personal Author:
First English edition.
Publication Information:
[Mexico City] : CEMEX : Conservation International, [1999]

Physical Description:
430 pages : color illustrations, color maps ; 36 cm
General Note:
"Produced for CEMEX by Agrupación Sierra Madre and Conservation International"--p. 7.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH75 .M577 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Polynesia, the mountains of south-central China, the coastal forest of Tanzania, New Zealand--all are breathtakingly beautiful sites with a crucial fact in common. They are four of the Earth's twenty-five "hotspots," geographical areas which, according to scientists and naturalists, are home to the world's greatest plant and animal diversity. The numbers are staggering: fully sixty percent of all terrestrial animal and plant species are found in these hotspots, which are themselves only 1.4 percent of the Earth's surface; they contain 54 percent of amphibian species and nearly half of all the plant species on Earth. They are the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth.

Hotspots is the definitive compilation and status report on these twenty-five areas. Russell Mittermeier, Cristine Mittermeier and Norman Myers, who pioneered the "hotspots" concept, take you through each of these regions, describing the various ecosystems and the threats to their existence. They have gathered the work of more than one hundred international experts on plant and animal life together with hundreds of spectacular color photographs, essentially creating a tour of the magnificent array of life found in each region.

How we address and reverse the tide of destruction in coming decades will determine the planet's course for centuries to come, and Hotspots actually offers hope that this destruction can be slowed. By showcasing the specific areas that contain the greatest diversity, it demonstrates that we can conserve a major share of this terrestrial biodiversity by focusing efforts on relatively small geographical areas. Hotspots is not only an important work for conservationists; it is also an extraordinary view of life on Earth.

" Hotspots represents a breakthrough in the way we regard life on Earth and should be required reading for government decision-makers, corporate leaders, and college students alike."--From the Foreword by Harrison Ford

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This is Volume 2 of a planned three-volume series (Volume 1 was Megadiversity: Earth's Biologically Wealthiest Nations, 1997) jointly produced by the conservation groups Agrupaci"n Sierra Madre and Conservation International and CEMEX (the third largest cement company in the world). The hotspot strategy is a conservation effort that focuses on areas with the greatest concentration of life forms at greatest risk of extinction. (Coauthor Norman Myers, a leading conservationist, first conceived the idea in the late 1980s.) Determined through data analysis by over 100 scientists, the world's 25 hotspots once occupied 11.8 percent of the land surface; now, they constitute only 1.44 percent. Incredibly, this small areaDwhich includes western Ecuador, the tropical Andes, the Guinean forests of West Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, and a large section of the Sierra Nevada and coast of CaliforniaDis home to more than 60 percent of the terrestrial diversity of plants and animals. The first section of this encyclopedia includes various tables charting the diversity of plant and animal life found in each hotspot. Then, a detailed narrative describes the diversity of plant and animal life found in each area and the forces that threaten them. Over 350 stunning photographs by many world-renowned photographers richly enhance this "wake-up call." With an extensive bibliography, this is a good introduction to the concept of hotspot strategy, and any library concerned with conservation and biodiversity issues will want to purchase.DEva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Mittermeier and colleagues offer an oversized, superbly produced book about the 25 major highly threatened hotspots of biodiversity, identified by degree of endemism and fragmentation. Collectively, they once occupied 12 percent of Earth's land surface; now they are reduced to 1.4 percent, yet hold 60 percent of the planet's diversity and 36 percent of the world's endemic species. The book was sponsored by CEMEX cement company and produced by Agrupacion Sierra Madre and Conservation International. Data, summarized in tables in the first part, form the basis of the text. Regional data were analyzed over three years by 100 international specialists, 70 of whom worked with three internationally known conservation biologists. Each highly readable account provides a map of the region, a detailed description of the geography and climate, an overview of the diversity of its ecosystems, followed by sections on flagship species, threats to the region, and conservation. Outstanding full-page and margin color photos feature both the riches of and the threats to each hotspot. A major source of hard-to-find information on biodiversity, biogeography, and conservation, and an essential addition to the library reference shelf. The low price makes it affordable to all libraries. General readers; undergraduates through professionals. R. L. Smith emeritus, West Virginia University