Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2006

Publication Citation

13 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 617 (2006)


This Note explores the role that nongovernmental organizations can and do play in the preservation of global biodiversity hotspots. The hotspot concept-developed in the late 1980s alongside the new field of conservation biology-identifies particular areas of the world that contain high levels of endemic species that are highly threatened or endangered. Some experts have argued that by focusing species conservation efforts on these areas, a maximum amount of species can be protected and preserved using a minimum amount of time, money, and effort, allowing the remaining, scarce funds and resources to be directed toward species conservation efforts elsewhere.

Without commenting on the propriety or the effectiveness of utilizing the hotspot concept itself as a way to focus biodiversity conservation efforts, this Note examines several methods that nongovernmental organizations can use to assist in the protection of such hotspots. The first category of such methods includes direct funding efforts or the making of unencumbered contributions by nongovernmental organizations to other organizations in a position to affect preservation efforts in a particular hotspot. The second category includes all types of nongovernmental organization involvement in debt-for-nature swaps. The third category includes a broad array of opportunities for nongovernmental organization involvement in the international arena, including involvement with both public and private or semi-private international organizations. In an ever-more globalized and interconnected world, the actions of such organizations increasingly affect hotspot preservation. The effectiveness of each of these three categories of potential and current involvement will be analyzed and opportunities for future expansion of protection efforts will be presented.