Author: Youhua Chen
Biogeography is the biological discipline that studies the geographic distribution of plant and animal taxa and their attributes in space and time. Nowadays, it is passing through a revolution concerning its foundations, basic concepts, and methods. As part of this revolution, biogeographers are increasingly recognizing the need of integration with other disciplines, in order to develop a truly interdisciplinary and pluralist science. The recent discipline of conservation biogeography shows clearly the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration. Additionally, during the last decades, there has been a considerable progress in the quantitative analysis of biogeographical patterns, with statistical multivariate and phylogenetic methods proposed to analyse particular ecological and biogeographical patterns and to establish meaningful comparisons.
The book written by Youhua Chen presents a thoughtful analysis of different biogeographical methods and their application to the analysis of biotic patterns in the Asia-Pacific region, which encompasses China, India and southeast Asia, and represents a very interesting region, which possesses an outstanding biodiversity. The analyses of different plant and animal taxa, using several biogeographical methods, led Youhua to identify clear patterns and to correlate them with climatic and biological data. Finally, he highlighted the relevance of these patterns for biodiversity conservation.
There are different reasons to read this book. Biogeographers will be interested in an outstanding region of the world, with specific chapters on birds and plants as case studies. Conservationists will appreciate the identified biogeographical patterns, which might help them establish conservation priorities. Ecologists will have a modern review of several methods used to analyse species-area relationships, species abundance and modelling species' potential distributions, among other patterns. Naturalists will be delighted with the rich biological information conveyed in the analyses. Students will learn about theoretical issues, and the case studies will surely make them think about biogeographic questions and how to answer them. I am sure that all of them will enjoy this very interesting book!
Juan J. Morrone
Museo de Zoología ‘Alfonso L. Herrera’
Departamento de Biología Evolutiva
Facultad de Ciencias
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Apartado Postal 70-399, 04510 Mexico D.F., Mexico