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New Caledonia – a conservation imperative for an ancient land

  • R. A. Mittermeier (a1), T. B. Werner (a2) and A. Lees (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

When Myers (1988) published his first overview of threatened hotspots for conservation of biodiversity world-wide, most of the 10 areas he selected (for example, Madagascar, the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, the eastern slope of the Andes) were already known to be critically important. However, one of his hotspots, the small island territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, was an unexpected inclusion in the global priority list. Although well known to botanists as a living museum of unique and ancient plants, and to marine biologists as the site of the world's second largest coastal barrier reef, New Caledonia had been largely overlooked by the international conservation community. None the less, it ranks as one of the world's most endangered biodiversity hotspots and requires an immediate and substantial commitment of conservation resources.

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A.M. Bauer and R.A. Sadlier 1993. Systematics, biogeography and conservation of the lizards of New Caledonia. Biodiversity letters, 1 (3/4), 107122.

P. Bouchet , T. Jaffré and J.-M. Veillon 1995. Plant extinction in New Caledonia: protection of sclerophyll forests urgently needed. Biodiversity and Conservation, 4, 415428.

J. Chazeau 1993. Research on New Caledonia terrestrial fauna: achievements and prospects. Biodiversity Letters, 1 (3/4), 123129.

J.D. Holloway and J.V. Peters 1976. The butterflies of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. J. nat. Hist. 10, 273318.

T. Jaffré 1993. The relationship between ecological diversity and floristic diversity in New Caledonia. Bodiversity Letters, 1 (3/4), 8287.

Ph. Morat 1993. Our knowledge of the flora of New Caledonia: endemism and diversity in relation to vegetation types and substrates. Biodiversity Letters, 1 (3/4), 7281.

N. Myers 1988. Threatened biotas: ‘hot spots’ in tropical forests. The Environmentalist, 8 (3), 187208.

N. Myers 1990. The biodiversity challenge: expanded hot-spots analysis. The Environmentalist, 10 (4), 243256.

N.I. Platnick 1993. The araneomorph spider fauna of New Caledonia. Biodiversity Letters, 1 (3/4), 102106.

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