I was reading Science Daily this morning with my cup of coffee in hand and came across this article. I have heard about this research before since my advisor, Bernard Goffinet, was involved, but had not seen this article or the primary research publications on the project. The project that they describe explores the biodiversity in the forests and tundra areas of Chile. This biodiversity in southern South America is compared to that of the southern tip of Africa. They determined that "5% of the world's bryophytes are found at the southern tip of the Americas, in an area representing less than 0.01% of the Earth's land surface". That is quite a high number of bryophyte species for the area exmined. Thus these regions are considered bryophyte biodiversity hot spots.
Another interesting aspect of this project is that they are encouraging ecotourism and have written a bryophyte field guide for the region. Conservation efforts have also been undertaken to protect the flora and fauna of the region by establishing the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
You can read the article from Science Daily here. Or you can link to the primary research article below.
Rozzi R., J. Armesto, B. Goffinet, W.R. Buck, F. Massardo, J. Silander, Jr., M. Kalin-Arroyo, S. Russell, C. Anderson, L. Cavieres, B. Callicott. 2008. Changing biodiversity conservation lenses: Insights from the Subantarctic non-vascular flora of southern South America. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6: 131-137.
Both southern Chile and South Africa are on my list of places that I would like to visit some day, but for now I will have to settle with readng about them and their fabulous flora from far away. Enjoy!
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