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Priority Areas
    Wilderness Areas
        New Guinea
    Key Marine Regions
Africa and Madagascar

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While Conservation International (CI) continues to prioritize its terrestrial conservation efforts in the world's most threatened biodiversity hotspots, we're also working to conserve five high-biodiversity wilderness areas: vast regions of relatively pristine habitat that sustain large numbers of plant and animal species found nowhere else. These areas are:

  • Amazonia
  • Congo Forests
  • New Guinea
  • North American Deserts
  • Miombo-Mopane Woodlands and Savannas of Southern Africa

The high-biodiversity wilderness areas claim more than 70 percent of original vegetation, have low human population densities and are among the last places where indigenous peoples can maintain traditional lifestyles.

CI recognizes a window of opportunity to save these wilderness areas today before they become the threatened hotspots of tomorrow. The payoff for taking proactive conservation measures now will be enormous, since these places provide important ecosystem services-such as watershed protection, climate regulation, pollination and carbon sequestration-that benefit the entire planet. They also have tremendous spiritual and cultural value. Keeping these areas intact may also provide more sustainable economic returns for local people in the long-term, from carefully planned activities like ecotourism.

Together, the remaining natural vegetation in these five regions covers nearly nine million square kilometers (approximately 3.47 million square miles) of land, or 6.1 percent of the planet's land area. The combined areas provide the only habitat for 17 percent of Earth's vascular plants and 8 percent of Earth's land animals.

Resources and Links
CI Wide
GCF: Global Conservation Fund
Frontlines: Central Suriname Nature Reserve: Building a Future of Sustainability
Frontlines: Aggressive development in Brazilian Amazon galvanizes forces for sustainable alternatives
Frontlines: Mountains of Tumucumaque National Park: Setting a New Conservation Standard


© CI, Jennifer Carr
Botswana's Okavango River delta is a key priority area for CI.

© CI, Russell A. Mittermeier
Among the High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas is the rain forest wilderness of Venezuela's upper Orinoco.

© Patricio Robles Gil
Male Blyth's hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus) of New Guinea are often hunted for food and as trophies.

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Photo credits for banner images: (Greater Flamingos © Tui De Roy/Minden Pictures); (Diagonal-banded Sweetlips © Fred Bavendam/Minden Pictures);
(Madagascar Aloe © Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures); (Hippo © Frans Lanting/Minden Pictures); (Hummingbird © Pete Oxford); (Malagasy Frog © Piotr Naskrecki/CI)