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Copyright 2008 University of Tennessee College of Law
Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy

ESSAY: SAVING BIODIVERSITY AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE AMERICAS

Spring, 2008

Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy

4 Tenn. J. L. & Pol'y 199

Author

Colin Crawford*

Excerpt

I. Introduction: Panama's Threatened Reverted Areas

In Panama City, Panama, construction is underway for a Biodiversity Museum. This is unsurprising; tropical Panama constitutes a biodiversity "hotspot", a place distinguished by the richness of its flora and fauna, and therefore meriting special protection. 1 Panama City, along with the Panama Canal, sits at the center of one of the world's most biologically diverse areas: Southern Central America. The area has more forest bird species than any other region in the world, except Amazonia and the northern and central Andes, each of which is vastly larger than southern Central America. Furthermore, Panama has as many plant species per 10,000 km<2> as any region in the world, more than Amazonia or the Malay Peninsula. 2 This biological richness results largely from the geographic distinctiveness of the nation's location. As a bridge between the American continents, the country sits at the bottom territory of many species in the northern hemisphere and the top territory of many southern hemisphere species. 3

The effort to build a Biodiversity Museum in this truly and symbolically central location must be recognized as both appropriate and laudable. The museum, designed by the world famous architect Frank Gehry, who has visited the country for years with his Panamanian wife, 4 will be the architect's first project in Latin America. It will sit on a spit of land known as "la Calzada de Amador," a tongue of land created during Canal construction with fill material, at the ...
 
 
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