Language Diversity is Highest in Biodiversity Hotspots
There are numerous theories about why this connection between species and language diversity exists. One possibility is that access to plentiful, diverse resources in places like biodiversity hotspots reduces the likelihood of distinct groups of people needing to communicate and share resources with other groups. Another theory suggests that during the time of colonization, European countries mostly focused on expanding into regions with temperate climates, therefore limiting contact with people in tropical areas where most of the high biological and linguistic diversity still occurs. For example, the highlands of New Guinea — the island with the highest linguistic diversity on Earth — were not explored by the outside world until the early 1930s.
Regardless of the reason behind it, at its most basic level this finding further reinforces an ethos that we have at CI: “People need nature to thrive.” It also shows that we can have real win-win approaches in which efforts to conserve nature and ensure the integrity of human cultures can go hand in hand.