Japan is one of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots, as identified by Conservation International. Collectively these areas hold over 50% of all known plant species, yet cover only 2.3% of the Earth's land surface. A new methodology developed in University of Oxford Department of Plant Sciences identifies hotspots based solely on global species distribution. This approach means those parts of a large-scale hotspot particularly rich plant diversity and of global importance for conservation (bioquality) can be identified.

Biodiversity research is a common theme across a number of the University's departments, although much of the plant-based research is to be found in two institutes associated with the Oxford Martin School . The Department of Plant Sciences has a hotspot science research interest, based in the Herbaria, through the Plants for the 21st Century Institute. The Biodiversity Institute of Oxford has a research agenda focused on the key challenges for global biodiversity in the 21st Century, facilitating the transition of science into policy, planning and strategy.

Bioquality focuses on high conservation value elements of biodiversity, specifically global rarity and taxonomic distinctiveness. To estimate bioquality, species are given Star-ratings based on their global distribution. Bioquality is measured using a globally standardised value called the Genetic Heat Index (GHI). The first Japanese bioquality hotspot maps have been identified for the flora and vegetation of Japan using two independent sources of plant distribution data: the Flora of Japan database and Horikawa dot map data. This project will help investigate some of the predictions made from the hotspot map

If you would like further information, please contact: Ben Jones, Arboretum Curator - or Tom Price, Gardens Curator -

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden & Harcourt Arboretum welcomes more than 155,000 visitors each year. Promoting the importance of plant diversity and conservation to the public through interpretation and our education programs sits at the heart of our work. The strengthened collections of Japanese plants will serve to represent the importance of biodiversity and to support biodiversity research at the University of Oxford

This database is developed and published online using BRAHMS

These data may only be used for scientific purposes. They may not be sold or used for commercial purposes.