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More than 80 percent of the world's major armed conflicts from 1950-2000 occurred in regions identified as the most biologically diverse and threatened places on Earth.
Scientists compared major conflict zones with the Earth's 34 biodiversity hotspots identified by Conservation International (CI). The hotspots are considered top conservation priorities because they contain the entire populations of more than half of all plant species and at least 42 percent of all vertebrates, and are highly threatened.
"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," Mittermeier said.
The finding, announced today, is published in the journal Conservation Biology.