Biodiversity Hotspot
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Biodiversity Hotspot

April 3, 2005

Covering more than 2 million square kilometers over eight southeast Asian countries is the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. This hotspot covers a relatively small area of land, yet contains a very high percentage of global biodiversity. Just 118,653 sq km of this hotspot is still covered by its original wild vegetation. Living here are 7,000 endemic plant species, and 18 threatened bird, 25 threatened mammal, and 35 threatened amphibian species. Just 132,283 sq km are highly protected wildlife areas, in which species like the Spiny-breasted Giant Frog, Pink-headed Duck, White-eared Night Heron, Vietnam Leaf-nosed Bat, and the Javan Rhinoceros struggle to survive.

This, and other hotspots worldwide are identified by Conservation International, who identifies areas worldwide where there are significant threats of habitat destruction, invasive species, human interference (for food, medicine, and the pet trade), and climate change that result in the loss of at least 70 percent of its original natural habitat. The Indo-Burma hotspot, shown here in this true-color Terra MODIS image from March 7, 2005, is just one of almost three dozen. The countries shown are Thailand (upper right), Laos (east of Thailand), Vietnam (right), and Cambodia (center), though the hotspot also covers most of Myanmar and portions of eastern Bangladesh, eastern India, southern China, and northern Malaysia.

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