It's A New Century: Do You Know Where Your Orchids Are?


extinct species
species extinction
forest conservation
tropical forests
biodiversity conservation
forest cover
habitat conservation

How to Cite

Pimm, S. L. (2005). It’s A New Century: Do You Know Where Your Orchids Are?. Selbyana, 26(1/2), 5–13. Retrieved from


Do you know where your orchids are? "Growing well in homes and botanical gardens" is not a sufficient answer, for surely we care about the ecosystems that are—and too often were—their homes. The news is not good: roughly half of all known plant species live in areas that, combined, cover only an eighth of Earth's ice-free land surface, ca. 17 million km². These areas, "hotspots," as Norman Myers has called them, are mostly tropical moist forests and include such places as Madagascar, Central America, and the Philippines. Of their original area, less than 10% remains. An additional 10 million km² of presently less threatened moist forests in the Amazon, Congo, and New Guinea house another quarter of Earth's plant species. About half of these forests remain, but they also are shrinking rapidly. So what can be done? Protecting the remaining large tracts of tropical forests is not a financially impossible task. Buying out logging leases is cheap, though protecting one's investment is altogether more difficult. Protecting the hotspots is even more difficult—they are more damaged, because more people live within them. Taking one of the richest hotspots, the Atlantic coast forest of Brazil, the presenter examined how to set practical priorities for conservation and the importance of taxonomic, biogeographic, and ecological knowledge in that process. What we do not know, he concludes, can most certainly hinder conservation efforts.


Open Access and Copyright Notice


Selbyana is committed to real and immediate open access for academic work. All of Selbyana's articles and reviews are free to access immediately upon publication. There are no author charges (APCs) prior to publication, and no charges for readers to download articles and reviews for their own scholarly use.  To facilitate this, Selbyana depends on the financial backing of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the hard work and dedication of its editorial team and advisory board, and the continuing support of its network of peer reviewers and partner institutions.

Authors are free to choose which open license they would like to use for their work. Our default license is the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). While Selbyana’s articles can be copied by anyone for noncommercial purposes if proper credit is given, all materials are published under an open-access license with authors retaining full and permanent ownership of their work. The author grants Selbyana a perpetual, non-exclusive right to publish the work and to include it in other aggregations and indexes to achieve broader impact and visibility.

Authors are responsible for and required to ascertain that they are in possession of image rights for any and all photographs, illustrations, and figures included in their work or to obtain publication or reproduction rights from the rights holders. Contents of the journal will be registered with the Directory of Open Access Journals and similar repositories. Authors are encouraged to store their work elsewhere, for instance in institutional repositories or personal websites, including commercial sites such as, to increase circulation (see The Effects of Open Access).