The Earth is home to an astonishing estimated 8.7 million species, spanning over our 195 countries worldwide. Our planet is bursting to the brim with incredible diversity, but there are 17 countries that take the cake when it comes to being “megadiverse.” To be considered as such, they must house at least 5,000 species of endemic plants and include a marine ecosystem on its borders. Here are just 5 of the most biodiverse countries in the world (in no particular order):
Brazil is considered THE most biodiverse country on the planet – where one-tenth of the world’s overall species call home. With a number of rainforests like Tijuca on the Rio de Janeiro and 60% of the Amazon being in Brazil, there are an estimated 55,000 species of plants, not to mention the highest counts of both vertebrates AND invertebrates in the world.
Lying in two major ecozones, the Palearctic and Indomalaya, China is proud to be the third most biodiverse country in the world. With over 2,350 nature reserves covering 15 percent of its land, China is very protective of it’s amazing wildlife. These reserves include research bases as well, like the Bifengxia Valley Giant Panda Research Base, where scientists learn how to successfully preserve the lives of endangered animals.
Check out our educational travel itinerary to China – China Old and New!
Like China, Peru is also very concerned about the preservation of its endangered species, protecting 75% of its 122 endangered. Peru is also home to the highest number of fish species at 10% of the world’s total. And if you’re a fan of butterflies, this might just be your dream destination, as Peru has an estimated 4000 species.
Reptiles are easy to come by in Mexico, where there are 707 known species. This country has designated over 170.000 square kilometers of land to Protected Natural Areas, including 34 biospheres and 64 national parks. They even have an eco-archaeological theme park called Xcaret, where visitors can snorkel in the Caribbean and learn all about the wildlife of Mexico.
Check out our educational travel itinerary to Mexico – Mystical Mexico!
There’s no question why Charles Darwin dedicated years of study and his own Research Center to Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, boasting approximately 576 species of flora and fauna exclusive to their country. Unfortunately, less than 5% of Ecuador’s rainforests have been conserved, but conservation projects like the Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve are working to encourage reforestation efforts.