Over 80% of conflicts from 1950 to 2000 happened in some of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions, a new study has concluded.
The research, titled “Warfare in Biodiversity Hotspots” and published in the new issue of Conservation Biology, used environmental group Conservation International’s data to compare the earth’s battle zones to 34 “biodiversity hotspots.”
“This astounding conclusion – that the richest storehouses of life on Earth are also the regions of the most human conflict — tells us that these areas are essential for both biodiversity conservation and human well-being,” said Russell A. Mittermeier, president of Conservation International (CI) and an author of the study. “Millions of the world’s poorest people live in hotspots and depend on healthy ecosystems for their survival, so there is a moral obligation – as well as political and social responsibility – to protect these places and all the resources and services they provide.”
In the fifty years studied, 23 of 34 identified hotspots experienced at least one instance of human warfare. The concern is that during conflicts, any conservation efforts are usually suspended, often leaving fragile ecosystems unprotected.
“We encourage support for local conservationists and protected area staff during conflict periods, but we in no way suggest intentionally putting people in harm’s way,” the study said. “Local staff often remains in conflict areas precisely because those areas are their homes, making continued support both an ethical imperative and a good conservation strategy.”Via: CI Photo Credit: Abulic Monkey on Flickr under Creative Commons license.