Determining conservation hotspots across biogeographic regions using rainfall belts: Israel as a case study

Levin, Noam and Shmida, Avi (2007) Determining conservation hotspots across biogeographic regions using rainfall belts: Israel as a case study. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution, 53 1: 33-58. doi:10.1560/IJEE_53_1_33


Author Levin, Noam
Shmida, Avi
Title Determining conservation hotspots across biogeographic regions using rainfall belts: Israel as a case study
Journal name Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-2210
2224-4662
1565-9801
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1560/IJEE_53_1_33
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 53
Issue 1
Start page 33
End page 58
Total pages 26
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Formatted abstract
With the current loss of biodiversity, efforts are being amassed to prioritize biodiversity hotspots that should receive high conservation priority. These studies often compare different biogeogrpahical regions using absolute estimates of species richness or rarity. Consequently, arid, semiarid, and other areas (e.g., boreal) are often ignored or are undervalued. Here, using a regional case study, we propose and demonstrate an approach that enables us to determine plant-based hotspots over landscape units across biogeographi-cal regions using normalized, and comparing with absolute, measures. Three botanical variables were calculated for 521 predetermined landscape units in Israel. These included plant species richness, the sum of scores of red (en-dangered) species, and a spatial exclusiveness score, all calculated from the Israel Plant Information Center (Rotem) database. We classified the landscape units into six rainfall belts (from extreme-arid to mesic-Mediterranean), as a normalization method to enable comparison and ranking across different environments. Residuals from the species–area curves were calculated within each belt for each of the variables, as a means to normalize for sampling ef-fects. The 25 highest ranking landscape units were identified as botanic hot-spots, both before and after normalization. Prior to normalization, most of the hotspots were located in the Mediterranean region. Following normalization, hotspots were identified across the entire climatic gradient and corresponded with threatened habitats where many threatened plant species exist, such as wetlands, sandy loamy soil, and heavy clayey soil areas. The use of rainfall belts enabled us to identify additional important conservation hotspots that are located in relatively poor species environments, such as deserts. This method should be further applied on a global basis to identify hotspots within ad-ditional biomes that have been mostly excluded from existing global hotspot maps, such as the Taiga, Boreal forests, Tundra, and the arid and semiarid desert and Xeric shrublands.
Keyword Biodiversity
Hotspots
Plants
Rainfall
Species-area relationship
Species richness
Rarity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
 
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