Megadiverse Countries is a term used to refer to the world’s top biodiversity-rich countries. This country-focused method raises national awareness for biodiversity conservation in nations with high biological diversity, with many species unique to a specific country. This concept was first proposed in 1988 by Russell Mittermeier.
More About Megadiverse Countries
- The Megadiversity Country concept is based on four premises:
- The biodiversity of each and every nation is critically important to that nation’s survival.
- Biodiversity is by no means evenly distributed on our planet, and some countries, especially in the tropics, harbour far greater concentrations of biodiversity than others.
- Some of the most species rich and biodiverse nations also have ecosystems that are under the most severe threat.
- To achieve maximum impact with limited resources, conservation efforts must concentrate heavily (but not exclusively) on those countries richest in diversity and endemism and most severely threatened.
- The identified Megadiverse Countries are:
- United States of America, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Madagascar, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, China, Australia
Criteria for Classification
- The principle criterion is endemism, first at the species level and then at higher taxonomic levels such as genus and family. To qualify as a Megadiverse Country, a country must:
- Have at least 5000 of the world’s plants as endemics
- Have marine ecosystems within its borders
- The focus on endemism is in line with the IUCN’s “doctrine of ultimate responsibility”, which holds that a country with the only populations of an endangered species has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the survival of that particular species.
- The classification was brought by Conservation International.
- While there is no specific management associated with this concept, 17 countries rich in biological diversity and associated traditional knowledge have formed a group known as the Like Minded Megadiverse Countries.
- These include 12 of the above-identified Megadiverse Countries.
- This group was formed in 2002 under the Cancun Declaration to act as a mechanism of cooperation on the conservation of biological diversity and traditional knowledge.