Threatened species richness along a Himalayan elevational gradient: Quantifying the influences of human population density, range size, and geometric constraints

Prakash Kumar Paudel, Jan Sipos, Jedediah F. Brodie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A crucial step in conserving biodiversity is to identify the distributions of threatened species and the factors associated with species threat status. In the biodiversity hotspot of the Himalaya, very little is known about which locations harbour the highest diversity of threatened species and whether diversity of such species is related to area, mid-domain effects (MDE), range size, or human density. In this study, we assessed the drivers of variation in richness of threatened birds, mammals, reptiles, actinopterygii, and amphibians along anelevational gradient in NepalHimalaya. Results: Although geometric constraints (MDE), species range size, and human population density were significantly related to threatened species richness, the interaction between range size and human population density was of greater importance. Threatened species richness was positively associated with human population density and negatively associated with range size. Conclusions: In areas with high richness of threatened species, species ranges tend to be small. The preponderance of species at risk of extinction at low elevations in the subtropical biodiversity hotspot could be due to the double impact of smaller range sizes and higher human density.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalBMC Ecology
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2018

Keywords

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Elevational gradient
  • Himalaya
  • Nepal
  • Threatened species

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