New species are more likely to emerge in extreme environment ‘coldspots’ rather than ‘hotspots’ like the Amazon rainforest
- The common belief that conserving ‘hotspots’ like the
Amazon rainforestare the best bet to maintain biodiversity is being contested by a new study published in Science.
- The researchers show that while’ hotspots’ are the most diverse, ‘coldspots’ is where there is more elbow room for
new speciesto emerge.
- As the planet faces what some are calling the ‘sixth mass extinction,’ the study proposes augmenting conservation efforts to foster coldspot environments as well.
AdvertisementThe Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse ‘hotspots’ of the world. Yet, it may not be the best place for new species to emerge.
A new study published in Science calls this the ‘
It’s not that the hotspots aren’t important. While coldspots are relatively empty, they are also dry and unstable environments. This is why once new species emerge and evolve, they move to more comfortable environments — like the tropical
For environmental conservationists, this means that efforts need to look beyond the Amazon or the
The ‘paradox of diversity’
This is not the first time that scientists have suggested that a paradox between coldspots and hotspots exists.
In 2019, research analysing plant extinction noted that hotspots lose more species and lose them faster than coldspots. But, coldspots stand to lose more uniqueness if they’re not conserved.
This comes at a time that some ecologists are calling it the ‘sixth mass extinction’. The United Nations (UN) pegs that the planet is seeing an unprecedented loss of species with nearly a million under threat of extinction.
Another study determined that 571 plant species have already disappeared from the face of the Earth.
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