Can Higher Taxonomic Hierarchy Units be Effective Surrogates of Plant Hotspots and Conservation Areas? A Test on Endemic Plants in a Tropical Biodiversity Hotspot
Pp. 133-141 (9)
In this study, we will test whether plant family and genus richness could
represent regional-scale species richness patterns. We also test whether plant family and
genus richness could identify hotspots and complementary priority areas for maximally
conserving species. The distribution of 340 endemic plants in Western Ghats of India, a
tropical biodiversity hotspot in South Asia was used as a case study. The results implied
that the spatial richness patterns created from the two higher taxonomic hierarchy units
(family and genus) could very effectively represent plant species richness hotspots.
However, the complementary priority areas selected by family- and/or genus-based data
were very different from those selected based on species-site matrix for endemic plants
in Western Ghats region. In conclusion, family and genus seemed to be good surrogates
to reflect species in mapping biodiversity hotspots but were in low efficiency in
selecting complementary conservation priority areas to conserve as many species as
possible. Our study should shed some interesting insights into rapid assessment of
regional biodiversity and quick identification of conservation targets.
Biodiversity hotspots, complementarity principle, conservation priorities,
ecological communities, ecological indicators, original forest, phylogenetic affinity,
plant richness, species association, species classification tree, surrogates, systematic
conservation planning, taxonomic diversity, taxonomic hierarchy.
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta Edmonton, T6G 2H1, Canada.