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Gómez Díaz, J. A., A. Lira-Noriega, and F. Villalobos. 2023. Expanding protected areas in a Neotropical hotspot. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology: 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2022.2163717

The region of central Veracruz is considered a biodiversity hotspot due to its high species richness and environmental heterogeneity, but only 2% of this region is currently protected. This study aimed to assess the current protected area system’s effectiveness and to identify priority conservation areas for expanding the existing protected area system. We used the distribution models of 1186 species from three kingdoms (Animalia, Plantae, and Fungi) together with ZONATION software, a conservation planning tool, to determine areas that could help expand the current network of protected areas. We applied three different parametrizations (including only species, using the boundary quality penalty, and using corridor connectivity). We found that protecting an additional 15% of the area would increase, between 16.2% and 19.3%, the protection of the distribution area of all species. We propose that the regions with a consensus of the three parametrizations should be declared as new protected areas to expand 374 km2 to the 216 km2 already protected. Doing so would double the protected surface in central Veracruz. The priority areas identified in this study have more species richness, carbon stock values, natural vegetation cover, and less human impact index than the existing protected areas. If our identified priority areas are declared protected, we could expect a future recovery of endangered species populations for Veracruz. The proposed new protected areas are planned and designed as corridors connecting currently isolated protected areas to promote biodiversity protection.

Cervantes-Espinoza, M., G. Cuellar-Rodríguez, E. A. Ruíz, T. H. Atkinson, J. F. García Ochaeta, J. A. Hernández-García, and F. Armendáriz-Toledano. 2022. Distribution of Phloeosinus tacubayae Hopkins, 1905 (Curculionidae, Scolytinae), the Cypress Bark Beetle, and new records from potential distribution models. Check List 18: 1165–1175. https://doi.org/10.15560/18.5.1165

AbstractWe evaluated the biotic and abiotic conditions related to the presence of Phloeosinus tacubayae Hopkins, 1905, to update its distribution and explore new areas to collect the species from potential distribution models and establish its host range. Our results support that P. tacubayae is an oligophagous species distributed mostly in five provinces from the Mexican Transition Zone; its distribution pattern belongs to the Nearctic cenocron and is related to the distribution pattern of its principal host. The modeling and distribution of its hosts suggest invadable zones where new records may exist.

Quiroga, M. P., and C. P. Souto. 2022. Ecological niche modeling, niche overlap, and good old Rabinowitz’s rarities applied to the conservation of gymnosperms in a global biodiversity hotspot. Landscape Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-022-01502-z

Context Biodiversity hotspots harbor 77% of endemic plant species. Patagonian Temperate Forest (PTF) is a part of a biodiversity hotspot, but over the past centuries, has been over-exploited, fragmented and replaced with exotic species plantations, lately also threatened by climate change. Objectives Our aim is to better understand patterns of habitat suitability and niche overlap of nine endemic gymnosperm species, key elements of the PTF, complementing traditional approaches of biodiversity conservation. Methods Using R packages and 3016 occurrence data, we deployed ecological niche models (ENM) in MaxEnt via kuenm, and classified species according to Rabinowitz’s types of rarity. We then overlapped their niches calculating Schoener's D index, and considered types of rarity in a spatial ecological context. Finally, we overlay high species’ suitability and protected areas and detected conservation priorities using GapAnalysis. Results We generated simplified ENMs for nine Patagonian gymnosperms and found that most niches overlap, and only one species displayed a unique niche. Surprisingly, we found that three species have divergent suitability of habitats across the landscape and not related with previously published geographic structure of neutral genetic variation. We showed that the rarer a species is the smaller niche volume tend to have, that six out of nine studied species have high conservation priority, and that there are conservation gaps in the PTF. Conclusion Our approach showed that there are unprotected suitable areas for native key species at high risk in PTF. Suggesting that integrating habitat-suitability models of multiple species, types of rarity, and niche overlap, can be a handy tool to identify potential conservation areas in global biodiversity hotspots.

Wang, C.-J., and J.-Z. Wan. 2021. Functional trait perspective on suitable habitat distribution of invasive plant species at a global scale. Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 19: 475–486. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pecon.2021.07.002

Plant invasion has been proved to threaten biodiversity conservation and ecosystem maintenance at a global scale. It is a challenge to project suitable habitat distributions of invasive plant species (IPS) for invasion risk assessment at large spatial scales. Interaction outcomes between native and …

Peyre, G., J. Lenoir, D. N. Karger, M. Gomez, A. Gonzalez, O. Broennimann, and A. Guisan. 2020. The fate of páramo plant assemblages in the sky islands of the northern Andes B. Jiménez‐Alfaro [ed.],. Journal of Vegetation Science 31: 967–980. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12898

Aims: Assessing climate change impacts on biodiversity is a main scientific challenge, especially in the tropics, therefore, we predicted the future of plant species and communities on the unique páramo sky islands. We implemented the Spatially Explicit Species Assemblage Modelling framework, by i) …