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Patterns of plant species richness, rarity, endemism, and uniqueness in an arid landscape

January 1, 2005

Most current conservation literature focuses on the preservation of hotspots of species diversity and endemism, as if the two were geographically synonymous. At landscape scales this may not be the case. We collected data from 367 1000-m2 plots in the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, Utah, USA, to show that: (1) the vast majority of plant species are locally rare; (2) species-rich areas are generally in rare, mesic, or high-elevation habitats such as aspen stands or riparian zones high in soil N and P; (3) endemic species (to the Colorado Plateau and the Monument) were generally found in relatively species-rich, but low-elevation, xeric vegetation type areas low in soil P; (4) unique species assemblages were found in areas moderately high in endemism and species richness; and (5) nonnative plant species were widely distributed, but more prevalent in species-rich, mesic sites high in soil fertility or disturbed sites, and significantly less prevalent in plots with endemic species. We show that primary hotspots of species richness, high endemism, and unique species assemblages are not co-located on the landscape. Hence, conservation strategies may have to consider a much broader concept of “hotspots” to adequately preserve native plant species and the processes that foster persistence.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Patterns of plant species richness, rarity, endemism, and uniqueness in an arid landscape
DOI 10.1890/03-5352
Authors T.J. Stohlgren, D.A. Guenther, P.H. Evangelista, N. Alley
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Applications
Index ID 1015091
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center