Chalybea brevipedunculata from the remote Cordillera del Cóndor in Eastern Ecuador. Credit: David Neill Latin America is more than twice as rich in plant species as tropical Africa and is home to a third of the world’s biodiversity, a new paper published today in Science Advances confirms. While it has long been understood that Latin America is richer in plant species than tropical Africa, the paper quantifies that difference for the first time by providing a precise number of vascular plant species in the Afrotropical Region and Latin America. With tropical forests being removed at alarming rates, and likely to nearly disappear by the end of the century, this information can help focus conservation efforts in areas with the greatest biodiversity while there is still time do so. Missouri Botanical Garden President Emeritus Peter Raven coauthored the paper, "The distribution of biodiversity richness in the tropics," along with Garden Researchers Roy Gereau, Peter Phillipson, and Carmen Ulloa, Clinton N. Jenkins of the Florida International University, and Cyrille Chatelain of the Geneva Botanical Garden. The paper compares the numbers of vascular plant species in the Afrotropical Region (Africa south of the Sahara plus Madagascar) and Latin America using the Vascular […]


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