Conservationists Focus on 'Biodiversity Hotspots' Like Congo Rainforest

Three decades ago, ecologist Norman Myers argued that conservation efforts should focus on “biodiversity hotspots” – threatened areas such as rainforests that contain an exceptional richness of species. The idea has since been extended to recognise the value of rare, unusual species, too.

But in central Africa, some conservationists have a radically different approach to identifying areas for preservation. They are looking beyond existing biodiversity, to the underlying processes that create and sustain it. And they are finding that evolution can flourish in surprising places.

The first inkling of this came from a 1997 study of a small bird called the little greenbul that lives in and around the Congo rainforest.

Corinne Stanley