Welcome Back: Two Species Thought Extinct

Botanists are celebrating the recent discovery of two species thought to be extinct in the California biodiversity hotspot. Unlike, the Wollemi pine, these plant species are still hanging on by a thread and probably won't be made available to grace your personal balcony or backyard. But we recommend you celebrate the occasion with a virtual tour of the biodiversity hotspots. If you have had the pleasure of travelling in one of the designated hotspots and managed to capture the beauty of biodiversity in images, we encourage you to heed the call of conservation international for submittal of images to futher enhance their eye-catching and informative website. Come join the virtual tour starting over the fold...

We start our tour with the newly rediscovered Mount Diablo Buckwheat, pictured above, which was thought to have been pushed out of existence by inasive foreign species. At least 20 of the plants were recently rediscovered by UC Berkeley botany grad student in a remote part of the Mount Diablo State Park. Shortly after this find, botanist Jenny McCune found patches of a grass species not seen since 1912 after being grazed into oblivion. Learn more about the finds from BGCI and about other species of the Californian biodiversity hotspot from Conservation International.

With only 150 pairs remaining, the Spanish imperial eagle is one of the rarest birds of prey. It represents the Mediterranean Basin, which owing to unique climatic conditions boasts over four times as many endemic plant species as the number found in all the rest of Europe combined. Of course, the remarkable and beautiful species at the tops of their food chains may not be the species we should most worry about when we think about biodiversity, but for today we are merely celebrating and enjoying sharing the planet with such wondrous creatures which inspire our desire to make careful choices in our use of the earth.

The Tropical Andes takes the gold for quantity and variety; one sixth of all plant species are found in this 1% of the earth. That's a hot spot. Unfortunately, almost three quarters of the 664 amphibian species in the region are listed as threatened; in addition to the traditional industrial/agricultural pressures, threats include invasive species like the American Bullfrog.

Now this is just a teeny taste of what the good people at Conservation International have put together to entertain us in our spare time. Thanks to CI for giving us a(nother) reason to spread the Treehugger word.

You can continue your tour from the interactive map (or if your internet connection is slow, you can use the traditional index in "hotspots by region"), and don't miss "hotspot science"