The Western Indian Ocean Region: A Biodiversity Hotspot
The Western Indian Ocean region is classed as one of 25 biodiversity hotspots. A hotspot is defined as regions of high concentration of endemism that are under accelerating habitat degradation. In total, they contain 44% of all plant and 35% of all vertebrate species and cover only 1.4% of the Earth’s land surface.
Biodiversity is vital to life on Earth. Without it, we would not have the basic ecosystem services that are necessary for survival (such as food, water, timber, medicines) or important functions like flood control or even social benefits like recreation. People from biodiversity rich areas are often among some of the poorest in the world and as a consequence strongly rely on natural resources which are exploited in an unsustainable way.
Within the Western Indian Ocean region, species are threatened by human activities such as deforestation for arable land, urbanisation, development of areas for tourism, illegal hunting and trade in wildlife. All these cause a lot of conflict between wildlife and humans. In a bid to protect this area of bountiful and diverse biodiversity, ERA has set up projects in order to mitigate the threats faced by species in the region.