Correlations among species distributions, human density and human infrastructure across the high biodiversity tropical mountains of Africa

Burgess, Neil D, Balmford, Andrew, Cordeiro, Norbert J, Fjeldså, Jon, Küper, Wolfgang, Rahbek, Carsten, Sanderson, Eric W, Scharlemann, Jörn P W, Sommer, J Henning and Williams, Paul H (2007) Correlations among species distributions, human density and human infrastructure across the high biodiversity tropical mountains of Africa. Biological Conservation, 134 (2). pp. 164-177. ISSN 0006-3207

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This paper explores whether spatial variation in the biodiversity values of vertebrates and plants (species richness, range-size rarity and number or proportion of IUCN Red Listed threatened species) of three African tropical mountain ranges (Eastern Arc, Albertine Rift and Cameroon-Nigeria mountains within the Biafran Forests and Highlands) co-vary with proxy measures of threat (human population density and human infrastructure). We find that species richness, range-size rarity, and threatened species scores are all significantly higher in these three tropical African mountain ranges than across the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. When compared with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, human population density is only significantly higher in the Albertine Rift mountains, whereas human infrastructure is only significantly higher in the Albertine Rift and the Cameroon-Nigeria mountains. Statistically there are strong positive correlations between human density and species richness, endemism and density or proportion of threatened species across the three tropical African mountain ranges, and all of sub-Saharan Africa. Kendall partial rank-order correlation shows that across the African tropical mountains human population density, but not human infrastructure, best correlates with biodiversity values. This is not the case across all of sub-Saharan Africa where human density and human infrastructure both correlate almost equally well with biodiversity values. The primary conservation challenge in the African tropical mountains is a fairly dense and poor rural population that is reliant on farming for their livelihood. Conservation strategies have to address agricultural production and expansion, in some cases across the boundaries and into existing reserves. Strategies also have to maintain, or finalise, an adequate protected area network. Such strategies cannot be implemented in conflict with the local population, but have to find ways to provide benefits to the people living adjacent to the remaining forested areas, in return for their assistance in conserving the forest habitats, their biodiversity, and their ecosystem functions. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0001 Natural history (General) > QH0075 Nature conservation
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0540 Ecology
Depositing User: Jorn Scharlemann
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2012 07:57
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 12:23

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