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Evaluating reserves for species richness and representation in northern California

Evaluating reserves for species richness and representation in northern California

Diversity and Distributions y; 12(4): 434-442

The Klamath-Siskiyou forests of northern California and southern Oregon are recognized as an area of globally outstanding biological distinctiveness. When evaluated at a national or global level, this region is often, necessarily, considered to be uniformly diverse. Due to large variation in biotic and abiotic variables throughout this region, however, it is unlikely that biological diversity is uniformly distributed. Furthermore, land management decisions nearly always occur at spatial scales smaller than this entire region. Therefore, we used field data from a random sampling design to map the distribution of local and regional richness of terrestrial molluscs and salamanders within northern California's portion of the Klamath-Siskiyou region. We also evaluated the protection afforded by reserves established for varying reasons (e.g. for inspiration and recreation for people vs. species conservation) to hotspots of species richness and species representation of these taxa. No existing reserves were created with these taxa in mind, yet it was assumed that reserves established largely around considerations for the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) would afford adequate protection for many lesser-known species. Species of terrestrial molluscs and salamanders share two general features: (1) they have extremely low vagility, and (2) they are often associated with moist, cool microclimates. Existing reserves disproportionately included areas of hotspots of species richness for both taxa, when hotspots included the richest c. 25% of the area, whereas non-reserved lands contained greater than expected areas with lower species richness. However, when a more strict definition of hotspot was used (i.e. the richest c.10% of areas), local hotspots for both taxa were not disproportionately found in reserves. Reserves set aside largely for human aesthetics and recreation and those set aside for biodiversity both contributed to the protection of areas with high (greatest 25%) species richness. Existing biodiversity reserves represented 68% of mollusc species and 73% of salamander species, corresponding to the 99th and 93rd percentiles, respectively, of species representation achieved by simulating a random distribution of the same total area of reservation. Cumulatively, however, reserves set aside for inspiration and biodiversity represented 83% of mollusc species and 91% of salamander species. The existing reserves provide conservation value for terrestrial molluscs and salamanders. This reserve network, however, should not be considered optimal for either taxa.

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Accession: 012786885

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1366-9516.2006.00263.x

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