Assessing rarity and threat in an arid-zone flora

Silcock, J. L., Fensham, R. J. and Martin, T. G. (2011) Assessing rarity and threat in an arid-zone flora. Australian Journal of Botany, 59 4: 336-350. doi:10.1071/BT10318

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Author Silcock, J. L.
Fensham, R. J.
Martin, T. G.
Title Assessing rarity and threat in an arid-zone flora
Journal name Australian Journal of Botany   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0067-1924
Publication date 2011-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/BT10318
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 59
Issue 4
Start page 336
End page 350
Total pages 15
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
An understanding of rarity and how it relates to extinction risk is a central concern of conservation biology. Classic conceptions of rarity revolve around spatial rarity, based on distribution and abundance, rather than temporal rarity, where species may be common following certain conditions but rare for most of the time. This form of rarity is likely to be especially prevalent in highly variable arid systems. Rarity in the arid zone is also characterised by poorly understood threats, such as grazing, and may also reflect low collection effort given the vast and inaccessible areas involved. This study explores rarity and threat in the arid zone, based on the flora of a large region of western Queensland. The status of all species known to occur in the study area was systematically assessed, and the current list of threatened species was examined for bias in forms of rarity, life forms and habitats. Five threat syndromes were identified, arising from the interaction of plant biology and threatening processes. Over 60 potentially threatened species have been overlooked in the listing process. The list is dominated by narrow endemics from residual and spring habitats and the species from springs at least are genuinely threatened. Widespread but sparsely occurring species are under-represented in the current list, as are grasses. With the exception of spring-dependent species, plant conservation in western Queensland is currently constrained by lack of basic data on distribution, abundance, population dynamics and realistic threat syndromes for nearly all species. Separating the influence of genuine rarity, temporal rarity and low collection effort, as well as a more detailed understanding of threatening processes are needed to address plant conservation in the arid zone.
Keyword Great Artesian Basin
Red List criteria
Setting priorities
Spring wetlands
Sighting record
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 06 Sep 2011, 03:08:02 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences