Bird Conservation International



Articles

Taxonomy is important in conservation: a preliminary reassessment of Philippine species-level bird taxonomy


A. TOWNSEND PETERSON a1
a1 Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, U.S.A

Article author query
peterson at   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Alpha taxonomy involves delineation of the basic unit of biology: the species. The concepts by which we define species, however, have been controversial, with several alternatives competing at present, some creating fewer and some more species units, depending on interpretation of species limits. Although it is tempting to assume that species concepts would have little interaction with the geographic foci of species richness and endemism — and some have so argued — this assumption does not withstand careful analysis. In this paper, I develop a first-pass assessment of Philippine bird taxonomy under an alternative species concept, and compare the results with the traditional biological species concept lists. Differences between the two lists were dramatic, but not just in numbers of species; rather, new, previously unrecognized or previously underappreciated foci of endemism were noted. A thorough understanding of the taxonomic basis of species lists is therefore critical to conservation planning.

(Published Online June 14 2006)
(Received March 17 2005)
(Accepted September 5 2005)