Chapter 16

Can Higher Taxonomic Hierarchy Units be Effective Surrogates of Plant Hotspots and Conservation Areas? A Test on Endemic Plants in a Tropical Biodiversity Hotspot

Youhua Chen

Abstract

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.

Total Pages: 133-141 (9)

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