Submitted to: Botanical Review
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2008
Publication Date: 6/2/2008
Citation: Maunder, M., Levia, A., Santiago-Valentín, E., Stevenson, D.W., Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Meerow, A.W., Mejía, M., Clubbe, C., Francisco-Ortega, J. 2008. Plant Conservation in the Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot. Botanical Review. 74:197-207. Interpretive Summary: The Caribbean Islands represent the most important system of island in the New World, and is considered one of the six most important “hotspots” of biological diversity, and thus a global priority for conservation. Plant conservation on each of the Caribbean islands is imperative for ensuring sustainable development. These extraordinary, and often overlooked islands, have been an arena for some of the most important biological studies of both plants and animals. Today they are testing grounds for the application of conservation biology. In this paper we review the historical basis of plant conservation in the Caribbean and its modern implementation.
Technical Abstract: The Caribbean Islands, comprising the Bahamas, Greater and Lesser Antilles and some islands located off the northern coast of South America, represent the most important insular system of the New World. As one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots, these islands represent a global priority for conservation. A recent study based on data sets that integrated biological and social factors found the Caribbean Islands to be one of the six “hottest” hotspots. The conservation of plant resources on each of these islands is an imperative for ensuring sustainable development and the provision of essential ecosystem services. These extraordinary, and often overlooked islands, have been an arena for some of the most important studies in evolutionary biology, including the role of vicariance and dispersal as biogeographical avenues for speciation, the relationship between area and species richness, and the evolution of convergent morphological traits under similar ecological conditions. Today they are testing grounds for the application of conservation biology. In this paper we review the historical basis of plant conservation in the Caribbean and its modern implementation.