Single species as indicators of species richness and composition in California coastal sage scrub birds and small mammals
Chase, M.K.; Kristan, W.B.IIi; Lynam, A.J.
Conservation Biology 14(2): 4-87
Forty species of birds and small mammals were evaluated as potential indicators of species richness and species composition in southern California coastal sage scrub habitats. This habitat supports many plants and animals of conservation concern, but it has been greatly reduced by human development. Of the few species that were found to be associated with species richness, some were associated with higher species richness and some with lower richness. Species of conservation concern were not more frequently associated with species richness than were common species. There was a geographic gradient in coastal sage scrub bird and small-mammal species composition across southern California. The findings suggested that efforts to conserve bird and small-mammal biodiversity should focus on a diverse suite of species that are representative of the range of variation in communities found in coastal sage scrub habitats.