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The term "megadiverse countries" is not something you usually hear, in fact, if you do not live in one of these countries you may have never heard it. A megadiverse country is one that is part of the group of States in which a large part of the planet's biodiversity is concentrated, in fact, as a whole they represent 70% of the Earth's biodiversity. The vast majority are tropical countries, however, they are spread over 5 continents.
You want to know what is a megadiverse country and examples of the countries that are part of this group? In the following Green Ecologist article we explain everything you need to know about these countries.
What is a megadiverse country
A megadiverse country is one in whose territory we find a large number of ecosystems. Megadiverse comes from biodiversity, therefore, we can say that megadiverse countries are those in whose borders there is a huge variety of life forms, both terrestrial and maritime plants or animals.
But what does it mean that they have a lot of biodiversity? To give you an idea, among all the megadiverse countries accumulate more than 70% of the Earth's biodiversity. Hence the enormous need to preserve and take care of these natural spaces, whose importance for the balance of our planet is so great.
The megadiverse countries they have things in common, we will explain below 3 of its main features.
- They have forests, jungles, deserts, seas and mountainous areas, that is, very different ecosystems.
- When they are islands, they have a lot of their own fauna and flora that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.
- They tend to be very large countries, which allows them to cover very different territories.
If you want to know more information about these countries, then we explain what are the characteristics of megadiverse countries.
Megadiverse country: characteristics
These are some of the characteristics shared by megadiverse countries:
- Geographical position: most are within the tropical zone, that is where the greatest biodiversity on the planet is found.
- Diverse landscapes: the diversity in the landscapes, that is to say, mountains, seas, lakes, forests or jungles, makes that there is a greater diversity of ecosystems.
- Separation: many are islands or peninsulas, which gives them an isolation that causes their own species to grow. In other cases they have been isolated continents for a long time, as in the case of South America and North America.
- Big size: the larger the size of a country, the easier it is for there to be many different species.
- Evolution: many megadiverse countries are in confluence zones where regions with a different biological history come together.
- Culture: it must be clear that cultural development is much closer than the formation of most species. However, indigenous or aboriginal cultures and the domestication of certain species have led to an improvement in the variety of their flora and fauna.
Is Mexico a megadiverse country?
Yes, Mexico is a megadiverse country. In fact, within its borders we find around 10% of the world's species, many of them being endemic species. The biodiversity of Mexico is enormous, it is the country with the most reptile species in the world, the second with the most mammals, the fourth with the most amphibians and the fifth with the most plants. If we put them all together, in the Aztec country we can find more than 100,000 species described, although in the subsoil, water and other sites there could still be hundreds of thousands to discover.
All this makes it very necessary to follow environmental policies according to the importance of its biodiversity. That is why in recent years they have started certain policies to protect all your mega diversity. Some of the most important are the following:
- About 13% of the territory of Mexico, about 25 million hectares, are within the system of Protected Natural Areas.
- Sustainable forestry is promoted through programs, certification of plantations and forests, and reforestation activities.
- National strategies are formulated in different areas, such as plant conservation, the fight against invasive species or biodiversity.
But Mexico is not the only megadiverse country, in this select group we find 16 more countries from all over the world. In the next section we will talk about the 17 megadiverse countries on the planet.
What are the megadiverse countries
The United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Center is the body in charge of classifying countries according to their level of biodiversity. This organism, following parameters that have to do with biodiversity and the quantity and difference of species that live in each country, establishes that there are 17 megadiverse countries: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, United States, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, South Africa, Congo and Madagascar.
Now that you know which are the megadiverse countries, we will give you information about each of them:
- Australia: it has a huge amount of fauna, both on land and at sea level. In addition, the fact that Australia is an island makes the vast majority of its species endemic, that is, they are only found there.
- Brazil: the place where most of the Amazon rainforest is housed is another example of a megadiverse country. It is estimated that among animals and plants, in that country we can find about 4 million species.
- China: Beyond crowded cities, China is another example of a mega-diverse country in which we find a great variety of ecosystems.
- Colombia: It is the country that has the most species per square meter, in fact, there we can find about 19% of the planet's animals.
- EcuadorNot only is it another example of a megadiverse country, but it is also an example to follow in terms of environmental preservation.
- U.SConsidering its immensity and the enormous variety of ecosystems, it is not surprising that it is found within the megadiverse countries.
- Philippines: Like Colombia, it is another of the countries with the highest rate of diversity due to the area it has. The fact that it is formed by more than 700 islands, makes its jungles and marine fauna stand out above all.
- India: It is another of the countries that has made a great effort to preserve its biodiversity, despite the fact that many times it has been late. An example of this is that there we can find about 500 animal sanctuaries, 13 biosphere reserves and more than 20 animals.
- Indonesia: in this country we find many species of animals and flora that you will not find anywhere. In fact, only Australia surpasses it as the country with the most endemic species.
- Madagascar: Did you know that in Madagascar there are more than half of the world's chameleon species? In addition, the fact of being an island means that there are many animals and plants that do not exist anywhere else in the world.
- Malaysia: It is another of the megadiverse countries, however, it suffers enormous deforestation, something that is endangering the survival of an animal as emblematic as the Bornean orangutan.
- Mexico: as we have already explained previously, there we find around 10% of the world's species.
- Papua New Guinea: At the moment it is one of the megadiverse countries in the world, but taking into account that it is one of the countries in which it has been explored the least, in the following decades we could see how an infinite number of plant and animal species are discovered.
- Peru: in this country we also find a part of the Amazon rainforest which, in fact, is the most biodiverse area in the country.
- Democratic Republic of Congo: When you think of Africa, does the desert come to mind? Well, in the Congo we find one of the largest jungles in the world, only surpassed by the Amazon.
- South Africa: In addition to lions, hippos, hyenas and other characteristic animals of the savannah, South Africa stands out for being home to more than 10% of the Earth's plants.
- Venezuela: the latest example of a megadiverse country is Venezuela, a country where you can find around 15% of the planet's birds.
Facts about megadiverse countries
So that you can observe the magnitude of biodiversity in these countries, we leave you the information with the number of species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians of the most megadiverse countries in the world:
- Vascular plants: 56,215
- Mammals: 648
- Birds: 1,712
- Reptiles: 630
- Amphibians: 779
- Vascular plants: 48,000
- Mammals: 456
- Birds: 1,815
- Reptiles: 520
- Amphibians: 634
- Vascular plants: 32,200
- Mammals: 502
- Birds: 1,221
- Reptiles: 387
- Amphibians: 334
- Vascular plants: 29,375
- Mammals: 670
- Birds: 1,604
- Reptiles: 511
- Amphibians: 300
- Vascular plants: 21,989
- Mammals: 564
- Birds: 1,123
- Reptiles: 864
- Amphibians: 376
- Vascular plants: 21,073
- Mammals: 353
- Birds: 1,392
- Reptiles: 293
- Amphibians: 315
- Vascular plants: 21,000
- Mammals: 271
- Birds: 1,559
- Reptiles: 374
- Amphibians: 462
- Vascular plants: 17,144
- Mammals: 441
- Birds: 1,781
- Reptiles: 298
- Amphibians: 420
- Vascular plants: 15,638
- Mammals: 376
- Birds: 851
- Reptiles: 880
- Amphibians: 224
- Vascular plants: 9,505
- Mammals: 165
- Birds: 262
- Reptiles: 300
- Amphibians: 234
- Vascular plants: 6,000
- Mammals: 166
- Birds: 597
- Reptiles: 268
- Amphibians: 216
Group of Like-minded Megadiverse Countries
Under the auspices of Mexico, during February 2002 the Cancun meeting, a meeting in which representatives and ministers of the Environment from countries such as China, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, India, Kenya, South Africa, Peru and Venezuela participated, as well as Mexico.
This meeting was intended to address important issues in terms of biological conservation and genetic resources to which the international community was not paying attention. From this meeting, the Cancun Declaration was made, through which the Group of Like-minded Megadiverse Countries, which encourages cooperation on common issues to promote biodiversity conservation.
In April of that same year Malaysia and Bolivia joined, and in June the Philippines joined. At that time, the GPMA already represented close to the 70% of all biodiversity on the planet.
If you want to read more articles similar to What is a megadiverse country and examples, we recommend that you enter our Biodiversity category.