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Hotspots Revisited. Earth's Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions

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  • Zoological Society of London
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... (a) Tibetan Plateau according to Körner et al. (2017) covers only a small area, in contrast to a medium sized area mainly confined to China defined by Zhang et al. (2002), and a larger area defined as all land above 2500 m (Zhang et al., 2013) irrespective of geological origins. (b) Himalaya as defined according to Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA) (Körner et al., 2017), a glacial study (Bolch et al., 2012), a plant diversity research (Rana et al., 2019) and as a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al., 2004). (c) Hengduan Mountains as defined according to GMBA (Körner et al., 2017), ecosystem service research (Wang et al., 2018b), geomorphology (Li, 1987a), and as a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al., 2004). ...
... (b) Himalaya as defined according to Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA) (Körner et al., 2017), a glacial study (Bolch et al., 2012), a plant diversity research (Rana et al., 2019) and as a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al., 2004). (c) Hengduan Mountains as defined according to GMBA (Körner et al., 2017), ecosystem service research (Wang et al., 2018b), geomorphology (Li, 1987a), and as a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al., 2004). (d) The extent of the Mountains of Central Asia as designated by Mittermeier et al. (2004), Bolch et al. (2019) and Foggin et al. (2021). ...
... (c) Hengduan Mountains as defined according to GMBA (Körner et al., 2017), ecosystem service research (Wang et al., 2018b), geomorphology (Li, 1987a), and as a global biodiversity hotspot (Mittermeier et al., 2004). (d) The extent of the Mountains of Central Asia as designated by Mittermeier et al. (2004), Bolch et al. (2019) and Foggin et al. (2021). (For interpretation of the references to the colours in this figure legend, please refer to the web version of this article.) ...
Article
Geographical names and the entities they represent act as a fundamental cornerstone across numerous disciplines. However, inconsistent geographical names and arbitrarily defined regional geographical scales are common, hindering cross-disciplinary communication and synthesis. The Pan-Tibetan Highlands, comprising the Tibetan Plateau, Himalaya, Hengduan Mountains and Mountains of Central Asia, is a case in point. To rectify these inconsistencies of terminology, we employed a multi-disciplinary approach to standardize the nomenclature of the Tibetan Plateau and the three adjacent mountain regions, defining their spatial extent using historical and contemporary perspectives. A literature meta-analysis indicated that ‘Tibetan Plateau’, ‘Himalaya’ and ‘Hengduan Mountains’ are the most suitable names for these regions in terms of both priority (earliest use) and popularity, whereas ‘Mountains of Central Asia’ emerges as appropriate for the mountain chains to the west of the Tibetan Plateau. The new term ‘Pan-Tibetan Highlands’ is proposed to replace the less precise and arguably misleading ‘High Mountain Asia’ for these regions collectively. Additionally, new geographical boundaries, applicable back through time, are proposed for each region, based on geological and geomorphological features. Using these new boundaries, the Pan-Tibetan Highlands area is 3.95 × 10⁶ km² with a mean elevation of 3824 m, while the Tibetan Plateau is smaller (1.82 × 10⁶ km²) and higher (4465 m) than commonly assumed. Across the Pan-Tibetan Highlands, the proportion of protected areas is be far below the proposed 30% anticipated in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework target with only a few exceptions. Additionally, the Hengduan Mountains showed the highest vascular plant species richness and endemism, followed by the Himalaya, Mountains of Central Asia and Tibetan Plateau. The obvious conservation gap in the Pan-Tibetan Highlands calls for urgent research-based optimization of conservation network. Our approach benefits quantitative spatial analysis by providing well-defined geographical scales for various fields, aiding cross-disciplinary comparisons and synthesis.
... According to [2], about 43% of the Cerrado's native vegetation cover has been suppressed since the Brazil colonial period, giving rise to urban centers, agricultural surfaces, mining areas, and reforestation with non-native species. The Cerrado is the second most devastating biome in Brazil, undergoing less modification only than the Atlantic Forest [3,4]. The changes in land cover are part of a set of transformations that began in the colonial period, whose potential for interference has been expanded over time (mainly since this Biome concentrates the majority of inhabitants in Brazil). ...
... Together these areas protect the equivalent of 49,934 km 2 , which is about 2.45% of the entire area of the Cerrado, considering that this Biome has 2,036,448 km 2 . Comparing to Amazon biome, where the protected areas proportion cover 10.20% of biome, Cerrado has few areas for protection which represents a risk for a global biodiversity hotspot [4]. In the Sustainable Protected conservation units, there are fewer restrictions concerning the conversion of the forest and are allowed the presence of the traditional population and some land-use activities, such as extractivism. ...
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This study aims to relate the recent trajectory of Brazilian environmental policies with the last 20 years deforestation rates observed in the Cerrado through the PRODES-Cerrado monitoring initiative. The main hypothesis is that the improvement of environmental legislation in Brazil, mainly during the period between 2005 and 2012, influenced the decrease in deforestation rates. In addition, policies to control environmental compliance, such as the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) also influenced the reduction of deforestation. In the early 2000s, there was a significant increase in public environmental policies and implementation of an environmental management structure with the creation of conservation, protection, and management agency for conservation units (ICMBio), the Brazilian Forest Service for the management of public forests and Rural Environment Registry (CAR). Comparing the annual deforestation rate, it was observed that between 2000 and 2005, when 12.60% of the Cerrado was deforested, the annual deforestation average rate was 2.52%. Between 2006 and 2012, the period that precedes the revision of the Forest Code, the total deforestation is equivalent to 7.98%, which results in an annual average rate of 1.33%. After the enactment of the new Forest Code, between 2013 and 2020, there was a deforestation of 7.03% of the Cerrado area, which is equivalent to a deforestation annual average rate of 1.00%. One of the positive aspects of the new legislation was the creation of CAR, which obliges rural landowners to make an environmental attributes declaration of their property, this program being the main environmental management tool created in Brazil recently. After CAR regulation in 2014, there was a decrease in deforestation from 10,904 km2 to 7905 km2 in 2020. On the other hand, since 2016, changes occurred in the political scenario that increased agribusiness influence and the rise of a more conservative agenda, which jeopardizes the future of environmental quality in Brazil (illustrated, for example, by the increased release of pesticides from 104 in 2010 to 493 in 2020). As the main conclusion of this research, we showed that the state’s commitment to environmental management can contribute to deforestation reduction. The regulation of programs such as CAR can also contribute to the reduction of deforestation since it is one more tool for monitoring and ensure compliance of environmental regularization and recovery vegetation programs. At the same time, is necessary to keep on monitoring deforestation once the influence of the agricultural lobby has gained strength.
... Identifying biodiversity hotspots is an important approach to discovering and conserving the diversity of life on earth. The increased focus on biodiversity has led to the identification of 34 global biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000;Mittermeier et al. 2005;Medail & Diadema 2009), among which are three phytogeographical regions of Turkey, a country important for its biodiversity (Davis 1971;Mittermeier et al. 2005;Dönmez & Yerli 2018;Noroozi et al. 2019) because of high endemism and habitat diversity. Moreover, Turkey is a primary and secondary diversity centre for a number of economically important fruit (pear, hawthorn) and crop (wheat, lentil) species (Zhukovsky 1951;Zohary & Hopf 2000). ...
... Identifying biodiversity hotspots is an important approach to discovering and conserving the diversity of life on earth. The increased focus on biodiversity has led to the identification of 34 global biodiversity hotspots (Myers et al. 2000;Mittermeier et al. 2005;Medail & Diadema 2009), among which are three phytogeographical regions of Turkey, a country important for its biodiversity (Davis 1971;Mittermeier et al. 2005;Dönmez & Yerli 2018;Noroozi et al. 2019) because of high endemism and habitat diversity. Moreover, Turkey is a primary and secondary diversity centre for a number of economically important fruit (pear, hawthorn) and crop (wheat, lentil) species (Zhukovsky 1951;Zohary & Hopf 2000). ...
Article
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Sorbus has an extensive speciation in Turkey and among its species, an unusually distinctive population was discovered in the Irano-Turanian phytogeographical region. Specimens of the population are closely related to S. aucuparia with several important distinctive characteristics: the outline of the leaves, shape of terminal leaflets, numbers of flowers, fruits per infructescence, fruit size and genome size. Based on the distinguishing morphological characters and the genomic data, the population is described as a new species with the name Sorbus erzincanica. Measurements of the nuclear DNA content of the proposed new species, closely related taxa (S. aucuparia, S. roopiana) and the other Sorbus species which occur in the same habitat (S. umbellata and S. kuznetzovii) are presented for the first time. The micromorphology of leaves and seed surfaces of the new species were investigated using SEM. A morphometric study using twenty characters from twelve specimens was carried out using principal coordinate analysis. The leaf architecture of S. erzincanica is very similar to that of the British local endemic S. pseudomeinichii, an autopolyploid apomictic species generated from several parents.
... The Himalaya, recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot, is taxonomically unexplored in the majority of its regions particularly in the North-West [5]. The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J and K) in the Western Himalaya is one such region which has been recognized as floristically under-explored by the Botanical Survey of India [6]. ...
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The Pir-Panchal Range of Kashmir Himalayas was explored for two years (2017- 2019) in different seasons to carry out a preliminary study of the floristic diversity of Asteraceae. A total of 19 species of the family were found in the study area. Ten flowering specimens of each species were photographed in their habitat, uprooted, dried, pressed and mounted on herbarium sheets and stored in the Simnan Herbarium of Department of Botany, Govt. Degree College, Kulgam. Information regarding the species were collected in terms of their ethno-medicinal and folk uses in the range. All 19 species have immense medicinal importance in curing a number of diseases. The study also aimed to assess the origin and the IUCN threat status of the species through different online databases and e-floras. According to IUCN definition of threat categories, the threat status of 10 species is not evaluated, five species are threatened, three species are least concern, and only Calendula officinalis is critically endangered. Similarly, 14 species are exotic and only five species are native to the country. There are nine, seven and three annual, perennial and biennial species, respectively.
... In Brazil, there are six recognized domains with unique ecological characteristics: Amazon, Cerrado, Caatinga, Pantanal, Atlantic Forest, and Pampa (Câmara et al., 2015). Two of these domains are biodiversity hotspots-Atlantic Forest and Cerrado-having a high number of endemic and flagship species and being heavily impacted by human pressures (Mittermeier et al., 2005). For each domain, studies have simulated future scenarios exploring different simulations of land-use policies (Câmara et al., 2015;Soterroni et al., 2018) and greenhouse gas emissions (Salazar et al., 2007;Souza & Manzi, 2014). ...
Article
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Climate and land-use changes are expected to negatively affect many species and ecological processes, leading to biodiversity loss. However, some species can adapt to these changes. Wide-ranging species are expected to be less impacted by such changes, but they can occur in different domains with contrasting environmental conditions , resulting in different conservation statuses along their range. To understand whether a species will overall benefit or lose with global change, we evaluated the responses of a wide-ranging but a vulnerable bird (Crax fasciolata) to separate and combined effects of climate and land-use changes under different environmental policies in Brazil. Using ecological niche modeling and a land-use model within the Brazilian political context, we quantified climatic, habitat, and environmental suitability for Crax fasciolata under historical (2000) and future (2050) scenarios. Our findings showed that environmental suitability can increase for Crax fasciolata in Brazil in future, but these effects vary according to the domain and the specific future scenario considered. Climatically suitable areas will increase in all scenarios, and those environmental scenarios that include better habitat conditions will provide more environmentally suitable areas for Crax fasciolata. However, this increase comes from newly suitable areas in the Atlantic Forest and the Amazon, while the Pantanal, the Caatinga, and the Cerrado will lose environmental suitability due to native vegetation loss. Despite the availability of these new areas, reduced landscape permeability may hinder Crax fas-ciolata from reaching them. This reinforces the urgent call for public policies for native vegetation protection, reforestation, and effective deforestation control.
... The region is popular for its rich biocultural diversity. Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura are part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, while Assam and the upper region bordering Arunachal Pradesh falls under the Himalayan hotspot (Mittermeier et al. 2004). Of the 450 ethnic communities in India, a whopping 225 have roots in NE India. ...
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Indigenous communities use their calendric knowledge to carry out landscape management activities. Using the example of the Mao Naga community of Northeast India, we demonstrate that keepers of such calendars are facilitators of landscape management activities of the community. The Mao Naga community chief once served as the chief calendar keeper from whom calendric information flowed to village-level calendar keepers. The chief calendar keeper processed information on the skyscape and local seasonal indicators and disseminated it to the village-level calendar keepers, and other community members. The calendar keepers determined the dates for sacred holidays called genna , and festivals which in turn determined landscape management activities that include agriculture, hunting and fire management. The village-level calendar keepers combined calendric information received from the chief calendar keeper with their own observation of skyscape and local seasonal indicators. The observation of local seasonal indicators by the village-level calendar keepers enabled them to keep the ecological calendar dynamic, flexible and relevant to the landscape. The Mao Council has introduced a printed traditional calendar which makes it easier for determining lunar months and festival days. But it lacks information on sacred holidays and local seasonal indicators. We recommend that the printed traditional calendar be developed further to include information on sacred holidays and local seasonal indicators. The improvised printed ecological calendar should then be administered by the calendar keepers.
... Usually, land is abandoned in a piecemeal and chaotic manner, so it may not be contiguous with forested areas and prevent species from achieving their range. The Japanese archipelago has been designated by Conservation International as a global biodiversity hotspot, because of the number of endemic species in its widely dispersed small island habitats, but which have suffered severe damage during Japan's period of modernisation and industrialisation (Mittermeier et al, 2005;Tyner, 2015). (Klien, 2016;Kurochkina, 2022)). ...
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We bring together evidence from three countries in differing world regions to ask whether or how depopulation is delivering socio-environmental gains-what we call a 'depopulation dividend'. We first discuss the depopulation problem itself and introduce the idea of a 'depopulation dividend', and we present research on national and sub-national depopulation processes in each country, beginning with demographic and environmental change in Japan. Following that we introduce socioeconomic outcomes in Spain and New Zealand. Overall, we present a positive perspective on depopulation-an issue that is usually presented in the negative-and we localize and globalize Japan's, Spain's, and New Zealand's experiences therein.
... The State's vast altitudinal (from 300 m to 8598 m a.s.l.) and eco-climatic variation has resulted in a biodiversity-rich region. Sikkim forms a part of the Eastern Himalayan biogeographic hotspot and serves as habitat to a number of endemic and threatened species of conservation importance (Mittermeier, 2004;Myers et al., 2000). The numerous eco-regions are each characterised by a distinctive set of vegetation and wildlife communities. ...
Technical Report
Pastoralists have been the prime inhabitants of the Himalayan rangelands for millennia. They have used mobility as a key adaptation and risk management strategy to optimize resource use the low-productivity environments to maximize their resource use. Changes in the pastoral community, livestock compositions and resource use are evident across the high-altitude Asia due to socioeconomic changes as well as extreme climatic variations. The high-altitude rangelands also hold critical role for biodiversity conservation being a habitat for a large variety of endemic flora and fauna and being prime habitat for species such as the charismatic Snow leopard. Given the social, cultural and ecological importance of the high-altitude rangelands, there have been a call for a holistic approach to conservation models that help both in sustaining local livelihoods as well as wildlife conservation engaging the local pastoral communities. In doing so, having base lines on the human resource use and human-wildlife interactions could be critical in planning conservation programmes. Bringing pastoralists voice in planning interventions by the conservation agencies could be critical in ensuring local participation in rangeland conservation. The transhumant pastoral practices of the Dokpas of North Sikkim have been undergoing a transformation in response to the drastic geo-political and socioeconomic changes in the region. Given the critical importance of the rangelands for conservation as well as pastoral livelihoods, this study was aimed on understand the current state of pastoralism and human-wildlife relations in North Sikkim with three specific objectives, i) to examine current rangeland management practices of the Dokpa community, ii) understand stresses to continuity of pastoral livelihoods and document human-wildlife relations, and iii) identify interventions based on local knowledge to help reconcile the needs of pastoral practices and rangeland conservation. We used mixed methods and conducted 12 semi structured interviews, 4 key respondents' interviews and two focused group discussion in Lachen Valley, North Sikkim. Our respondents covered 63 percent of the herders in the region. Dokpas continue to follow a seasonal movement of yak herding in the region with the. The livestock holdings of the Tso Lhamo Dokpa subgroup consists of eleven out of the twelve Tso Lhamo Dokpa households rearing a total of 1398 yaks, with an average of 127.09 yaks per household (n = 11) and one household rearing 200 bherlung sheep. We found Dokpa transhumant practices to be on the decline in North Sikkim, with many households exiting the region and the livelihood practice. Primary stresses to continue the pastoral practices were establishments of armed forces, resultant increase in dog population and alternative job opportunities and changing aspirations of younger generation. Lack of institutional support continued socioeconomic marginalization and livestock depredation by feral dogs has added to the stresses of an already harsh Dokpa lifestyle. Dokpas were still found to have a positive attitude towards the wildlife and conservation in the region. For effective community-based conservation, however, adaptive resource management, capacity of local institutions and Dokpa herders should be enhanced by creating a facilitative environment in congruence with Dokpa livelihood interests. We have provided list of recommendation made by the Dokpas that can help in continuing pastoral practices as well as positive attitude towards wildlife and rangeland conservation in the region. iii
... The Atlantic Forest of South America is one of the most endangered rainforests on Earth, with only 12% of its original coverage still persisting (Ribeiro et al. 2009). It has been included in the list of 200 Global Ecoregions by WWF (Olson and Dinerstein 2002) and is among the eight "hottest" of the biodiversity hotspots analyzed by Conservation International (Mittermeier et al. 2005;Myers et al. 2000). Despite a high degree of fragmentation, the Atlantic Forest is still one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth (it contains 7% of the world's species) and it is characterized by a high level of endemism (e.g., 40% of plant species and 42% of terrestrial vertebrate species are endemic; Myers et al. 2000). ...
Article
Canopy camera trapping is being increasingly used to characterize assemblages of arboreal mammals. In this study we compared, for the first time, the assemblage of arboreal mammals of the Atlantic Forest, surveyed using canopy camera trapping at two protected areas of Mis-iones, Argentina: Piñalito (11 camera-trap stations) and Cruce Caballero (9 stations), with the assemblage recorded at ground-level with a camera-trapping survey conducted at another protected area, the nearby private reserve Valle del Alegría (18 stations). We calculated the number of independent photo-events for each species and site, and we built species rank abundance curves to compare the recorded species diversity among sites. We recorded six mammal species at Piñalito and Cruce Caballero, and 23 at Valle del Alegría. Canopy-survey sites showed lower diversity but a different and non-nested species composition when compared to the ground-level survey. One of the most frequently recorded species in the canopy, the brown-eared woolly opossum, Caluromys lanatus, categorized as Vulnerable in Argentina, has not been photographed in ground-level camera-trap surveys in Misiones before. Our results suggest that canopy camera trapping represents a robust method to sample arboreal species that are missed in ground-level camera-trap surveys, thus improving forest species inventories.
... Presently, SE Asia supports 20-25% of the world's flora and fauna, is a critical driver of global atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems (De Deckker, 2016;Mittermeier, 2004) and is home to over 660 million people (United Nations, 2019). As such, this region is of critical global importance to biodiversity, climate, and socioeconomics. ...
Article
Insular Southeast Asia is of critical importance to global biodiversity, climate, and socioeconomics. Past environmental histories are a crucial factor influencing contemporary patterns and, in this region, fluctuating sea-level and climate change during the Last Glacial Period (LGP) resulted in drastic changes in both land extent and vegetation cover. However, understanding the past environments of this tropical region is hampered by its sheer size and relative lack of traditional continental proxy records, such as lake sediments. To provide further insight into the response of vegetation to the changing environmental conditions, we use the stable carbon isotope composition (δ¹³C) of a bat guano sequence from Liang Mbelen Cave in North Sumatra, to determine whether tropical grass (C4 vegetation) or forest (C3 vegetation) was present in the area from c. 30 to 10 cal kyr BP. Our results confirm the presence of C4 vegetation during the LGP; however, we find that the timing of grass expansion was just prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 23–19 kyr BP). Comparing Liang Mbelen with the other evidence from across the region, we find a generally consistent pattern of peak tropical grasses often occurring prior to the LGM in Sundaland, with the timing of forest encroachment variable, although beginning at c. 25 cal kyr BP. We find that the timing of the shift from savanna to forest systems in Sundaland is similar to changes in obliquity, likely resulting in a decrease or elimination of the dry season that favoured forest expansion. Understanding past vegetation history will help the management and protection of the fragile and ecologically valuable ecosystems of SE Asia.
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The rain forests at Bajo Calima, Colombia are described for woody plant composition. Two upland plots, 1.0 and 0.5 ha in size, were selected and all trees $\geq$ 10 cm dbh were measured and identified. Trees $\geq$ 2.5 cm and $\leq$ 9.9 cm dbh were sampled in 0.1 ha subplots. Biomass was estimated using allometric equations. Biomass levels are low, at 210 tons/ha, and tree canopy heights rarely exceed 30-35 m. Few trees over 100 cm dbh were found. Forests at Bajo Calima are among the most species-rich in the world, with over 250 tree species $\geq$ 10 cm dbh per ha. Palms are numerically abundant in the overstory, with Jessenia bataua being most common. Free-climbing lianas are uncommon. Only 11 species had more than 8 individuals $\geq$ 10 cm dbh per ha. Measures of soil nutrients indicate low fertility and possible aluminum toxicity The pluvial rain forests at Bajo Calima lend support to previous findings that high diversity is correlated with both high rainfall and low nutrient levels.
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This paper documents the extent of deforestation in western Ecuador and what is known about its effect on biodiversity. Maps are provided comparing the extent of relatively undisturbed forested areas in aboriginal times, 1958, and 1988. Patterns of floristic diversity and endemism are discussed in light of the massive deforestation, and evidence of extinction of plant species from four florula sites is provided. The naturally fragmented nature of much of the western Ecuadorian forest is discussed, both in terms of evolutionary effects and implications for long-term conservation.
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ABSTRACT The cerrado, one of the largest vegetation formations in Brazil, has been poorly studied. We present the first comprehensive list of the non-volant mammalian,fauna and analyze its Zoogeographie affinities. There are 11 endemic non-volant mammal,species out of a total of 100 species. The cerrado flora is rich in endemics and shows pronounced,adaptations to a xeric environment,in contrast to the cerrado mammalian,fauna. This is probably due to the fact that gallery forests have been present in the cerrado for a long time and have served as mesic enclaves, making xeric adaptations on the part of the mammalian species unnecessary. This contrast between cerrado flora and fauna is similar to the situation in the caatinga, although seemingly for difl^erent reasons. ABSTRATO
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Summary Conservation planning has hitherto concentrated largely on the representation of biodiversity patterns within a system of conservation areas. Only recently has there been an emphasis on retaining segments of the optimal conservation area by defining implementation priorities in terms of the irreplaceability of areas and their vulnerability to threatening processes. The conservation of ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain and generate biodiversity, a requirement for a system of conservation areas that promotes biodiversity persistence, has received very little attention. By designing conservation systems in order to represent spatial features as surrogates for ecological and evolutionary processes, and by scheduling the implementation of areas in order to minimise the impacts of threats on these processes, it is theoretically possible to achieve a conservation system that combines retention and persistence. Here we discuss the requirements for establishing a sustainable (retention+persistence) conservation system in southern Africa's Succulent Karoo, a mediterranean-climate desert that is very rich in plant species. Firstly, we discuss planning issues salient to both representation and design, and indicate the location, size and role in conservation of the spatial components (surrogates for processes) necessary for a system of conservation areas in the Succulent Karoo intended for retention+persistence. Next we lay out the requirements for a conservation system in the region and summarise some existing work on representation and retention of plant species. We then present a protocol for decision-making and apply it by designing a hypothetical system of conservation areas. Finally, we compare representation of Red Data Book plant species in a system identified for pattern retention with our similar-sized system designed for retention+persistence. The latter conserves 37% fewer species, indicating that design for persistence incurs a cost in terms of representation. This cost is offset by developing a conservation system that is likely to persist in the face of global change, and that will sustain processes responsible for the maintenance and genesis of biodiversity.
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Summary A comparison of species richness patterns of butterflies and birds was made using data from two grids of squares (small squares 137.5 km on a side and large squares 275 km on a side) covering western North America. Using geostatistical procedures, we found that the spatial patterns of species richness of these two taxa were related. The influence of grain size on the strength of this relationship was investigated by analysing the two data sets. For both data sets, the number of butterfly species in a square was a statistically significant predictor of the corresponding number of bird species. However, cross-validation techniques showed that the marginal improvement in prediction accuracy due to including butterflies as a predictor was greater in the large-square data. We explored the effect of areal extent on cross-taxon congruencies by investigating species richness patterns in four subsets of the small-square data. In regions with smaller areal extent, the cross-taxon congruence patterns were not substantially different from the pattern found in the full data set. Finally, using data-splitting techniques, we explored the relationships between prediction accuracy of species richness, sample size, areal extent of the sample, and grain size.