Sites for priority biodiversity conservation in the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot

V. Anadon-Irizarry, D.C. Wege, A. Upgren, R. Young, B. Boom, Y.M. Leon, Y. Arias, K. Koenig, A.L. Morales, W. Burke


The Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot is exceptionally important for global biodiversity conservation due to high levels of species endemism and threat. A total of 755 Caribbean plant and vertebrate species are considered globally threatened, making it one of the top Biodiversity Hotspots in terms of threat levels. In 2009, Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) were identified for the Caribbean Islands through a regional-level analysis of accessible data and literature, followed by extensive national-level stakeholder consultation. By applying the Vulnerability criterion, a total of 284 Key Biodiversity Areas were defined and mapped as holding 409 (54%) of the region’s threatened species. Of these, 144 (or 51%) overlapped partially or completely with protected areas. Cockpit Country, followed by Litchfield Mountain - Matheson’s Run, Blue Mountains (all Jamaica) and Massif de la Hotte (Haiti) were found to support exceptionally high numbers of globally threatened taxa, with more than 40 such species at each site. Key Biodiversity Areas, building from Important Bird Areas, provide a valuable framework against which to review the adequacy of existing national protected-area systems and also to prioritize which species and sites require the most urgent conservation attention.

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Copyright (c) 2012 V. Anadon-Irizarry, D.C. Wege, A. Upgren, R. Young, B. Boom, Y.M. Leon, Y. Arias, K. Koenig, A.L. Morales, W. Burke

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The Journal of Threatened Taxa is an open access and print, peer-reviewed, monthly, international journal on conservation and taxonomy. The aim of the Journal is to promote wildlife research and conservation action worldwide at no cost to authors, no subscription or membership cost, and no hidden cost, on a regular basis without compromising on ethics, standards and pre-requisites of scientific publications.

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