Largely in the tropics, Mediterranean climates, and along mountain chains, biodiversity hotspots are “where there’s a real concentration in number of species and also unique species – plants and animals that exist nowhere else on Earth,” he said.
“It’s a very complex relationship between biodiversity and human population, because it’s not necessarily [true] that places of high human population are a threat to biodiversity,” said Williams. Many different factors play a role, “like education, like consumption, like economic development, different cultures – how people interface with the natural world – all these things create nuances as far as what that relationship is between biodiversity and where people live.”
“There are some basic things we can do that are going to be good for human welfare, as well as biodiversity,” he continued. A few are addressing lack of education, especially among girls, in areas of high biodiversity; providing basic health services, including family planning, where rural growth rates are highest; and improving physical access to rural areas to promote economic development.
“We see there’s a direct correlation between each additional year of schooling a girl has and their fertility during their lifetime,” Williams said. “As people climb out of poverty, they also choose to have smaller, healthier families.”