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African Geographical Review
Volume 28, December 2009


Research Article

Hotspot Discourse in Africa: Making Space for Bioprospecting in Madagascar

Benjamin D. Neimark (Temple University, USA) and Richard A. Schroeder (Rutgers University, USA)

The biodiversity hotspot strategy initially pinpointed ten tropical forest regions for conservation protection.  It has since mushroomed to include 34 global regions spanning six continents and accounting for nearly 16 percent of the earth’s surface area.  In this paper, we analyze the coincidence of biodiversity protection efforts and the extraction of biological specimens for drug development within African hotspot regions.  We also discuss the work that the hotspot concept does to order and enframe specific locations for the dual purposes of resource conservation and extraction in Madagascar.  We maintain that hotspot science has done a great deal to facilitate the bioprospecting industry’s access to genetic resources in some of the most well endowed ecological settings in the world. Ultimately, this begs the question of what sort of relationship exists between hotspot conservators and actors whose involvement with hotspot ecologies is geared explicitly toward the extraction of plant and other biological materials for commercial gain. 

Key words: Africa, biodiversity conservation, bioprospecting, Madagascar