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Biodiversity not bothered by national country borders

Posted on 29-12-2016 by Andre van Proosdij

Definition of rarity should be reconsidered

Scientists of Naturalis Biodiversity Centre and Wageningen University have estimated the botanical diversity patterns in Gabon for the first time. For every place in Gabon, including areas never visited by scientists before, they predict the number and identity of plant species to occur. In the journal PLOS ONE they conclude that they, as well as other colleagues, should include average and rare species in addition to the usually selected widespread species when assessing botanical diversity patterns correctly.

Often, biologist use a selection of common, widespread species to infer biodiversity patterns. These so-called indicator species are usually chosen based on their rarity within the national country borders. In their study, the scientists show that this artificial definition of rarity results in incorrect conclusions. Plants that are rare in Gabon can be common in entire Africa and vice versa. Therefore, they advocate to reconsider the definition of rarity. “Biodiversity is not bothered by national country borders”, says first author André van Proosdij. It shows that only globally rare species are overrepresented in highly biodiverse areas. In addition, for Gabon, the most botanically species-rich areas are located outside the national parks.


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