From The Atlas of Global Conservation
By The Nature Conservancy & University of California Press
Terrestrial Bird Species
While birds live in all ecoregions on Earth, more than one-third of all documented bird species have been found in Central and South America -- 3,751 in all.
Freshwater Bird Species
More than 800 species of birds require the fragile, specialized habitat that rivers and wetlands provide.The East African wetlands have the highest diversity of freshwater birds, number more than 150 species.
The greatest diversity of the world's seabirds can be found in the seas off the southern islands of New Zealand. There, the cold Southern Ocean offers particularly abundant resources of krill, fish and other marine life on which to feed.
Terrestrial Mammal Species
While large numbers are found in warm climates, many mammal species are able to thrive in Earth's coldest regions and adaptations that include furry bodies and warm blood.
Freshwater Mammal Species
Although mammals that feed and spend most of their time in and around freshwater are found in many parts of the world, the highest concentrations of species are in regions with tropical forests and lots of flowing water.
Marine Mammal Species
The most species are found in temperate regions, where upwelling zones provide water rich in nutrients. Some marine mammals live mostly in the open ocean, often migrating great distances between continents.
Freshwater Fish Species
The most fish species can be found along many of the world's large rivers in both temperate and tropical regions, including the Orinoco and Amazon in South America, the Ganges in India and the Yangtze and Xi Jiang in China.
The greatest numbers and variety of species can be found in warm, humid climates, such as the High Andes, Brazil, West Africa and Borneo. Outside the tropics, the southeastern United States is particularly rich in salamanders.
Causes of Amphibian Declines
From loss of habitat to over-exploitation, the many stresses affecting amphibians have left them more vulnerable to fatal diseases like the one caused byt he Chytrid fungus, leading to declines and extinctions of amphibian populations in every continent.
Lizard and Snake Species
While the greatest numbers of terrestrial reptile species occur in tropical rain forests, many have also adapted to hotter, drier climates of deserts and grasslands, and two species can even survive in the Arctic Circle.
Turtle and Crocodilian Species
Freshwater reptiles are most concentrated in warm, humid climates. Large numbers of turtle species, for instance, reside in the rivers and lakes of the southeastern United States and Southeast Asia.
Terrestrial Plant Species
Plants are found in all terrestrial ecoregions. The diversity of plants in deserts and very cold environments is naturally low, while in the warm, wet rain forests, the variety of plant species is astounding.
Centers of Planet Diversity
These centers are places that have high concentrations of species unique to a region or simply very high numbers of species.