We are a Biodiversity Hotspot
“The most remarkable areas on earth are also the most threatened. These are the Hotspots, the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plants and animal life on Earth.” (from www.biodiversityhotspots.com).
To view an interactive map of hotspots around the world Click Here.
The Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot
The Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot covers an area of roughly 230 000 km2 of land, and boast extraordinary levels of biodiversity. For example, over 6500 endemic plant species can be found in the ecosystem. The hotspot is also noteworthy for its diminutive species, including the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird and smallest snake, the Lesser Antillean Threadsnake.
Despite its importance, 90% of the Caribbean Island Hotspot’s original vegetation cover has been devastated through human activity. Habitat loss is a major contributor to species endangerment, and this area is no exception. Currently an estimated 48 endemic birds, 18 endemic mammals and 143 endemic amphibians living in the Caribbean Hotspot face extinction. For 38 species it’s already too late! Many of the threatened species are associated with forests.
Key West as part of the Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot
Key West is the southernmost point and only tropical environment in the Continental United States. It is also the northern edge of the Caribbean Hotspot. However, much of the original tropical forest on Key West has been lost to development. The Key West Botanical Garden hosts one of the only remaining portions of original tropical forest in Key West and is an important habitat for dozens of threatened species found only in the Caribbean.