Identifying important endemic areas using ecoregions: birds and mammals in the Indo-Pacific 1
Concentrations of large numbers of endemic species have been singled out in prioritization exercises as significant areas for global biodiversity conservation. This paper describes bird and mammal endemicity in Indo-Pacific ecoregions. An ecoregion is a relatively large unit of land or water that contains a distinct assemblage of natural communities. We prioritize 133 ecoregions according to their levels of endemicity, and explain how variables such as biome type, whether the ecoregion is on an island or continental mass, montane or non-montane, correlate with the proportion of the total species assemblage that are endemic. Following an exploratory principal components analysis we classify all ecoregions according to the relationship between numbers of endemics and overall species richness. Endemicity is negatively correlated with species richness. We show that plotting the logit transformation of the endemicity of birds and mammals against log of species richness is a more effective and useful way of identifying important ecoregions than simply ordering ecoregions by the proportion of endemic species, or any other single measure. The plot, divided into 16 regions corresponding to the quartiles of the two variables, was used to identify ecoregions of high conservation value. These are the ecoregions with the highest endemicity and lowest species richness. Further analysis shows that island and montane ecoregions, regardless of their biome type, are by far the most important for endemic species.(Received January 28 2003)
(Revised May 2 2003)
(Accepted June 23 2003)
Key Words: Birds; ecoregions; endemic species; Indo-Pacific region; mammals.
c1 Correspondence: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey, JE3 5BP, UK. E-mail email@example.com