28 Jun 2013:
Global Biodiversity Maps
Show Species Health Down to Local Level
U.S. researchers have published a series of data-rich maps that identify the world’s conservation priority
Density of biodiversity, South America
hotspots with a level of detail they say is 100 times finer than previous assessments
. Using the latest data on more than 21,000 species of mammals, amphibians, and birds, the maps produced by North Carolina State University (NCSU) researchers provide a snapshot of biodiversity health at a 10-kilometer-by-10-kilometer scale, comparable to the geographic scale at which critical conservation decisions are made. The color-coded maps reveal patterns of biodiversity for the different types of species
, with deep reds and yellows across South America, for example, illustrating the richest density, while shades of blue in the world’s deserts indicating less diversity. Researchers hope the information will help policymakers make best use of scarce conservation resources to protect the world’s most vulnerable species. “We have better data than in the past — and better analytical methods,” said Clinton Jenkins, a research scholar at NCSU and lead author of the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
. “Now we have married them for conservation purposes.”
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.