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Ralimanana, H., A. L. Perrigo, R. J. Smith, J. S. Borrell, S. Faurby, M. T. Rajaonah, T. Randriamboavonjy, et al. 2022. Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity: Threats and opportunities. Science 378. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.adf1466

Madagascar’s unique biota is heavily affected by human activity and is under intense threat. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the conservation status of Madagascar’s terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity by presenting data and analyses on documented and predicted species-level conservation statuses, the most prevalent and relevant threats, ex situ collections and programs, and the coverage and comprehensiveness of protected areas. The existing terrestrial protected area network in Madagascar covers 10.4% of its land area and includes at least part of the range of the majority of described native species of vertebrates with known distributions (97.1% of freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals combined) and plants (67.7%). The overall figures are higher for threatened species (97.7% of threatened vertebrates and 79.6% of threatened plants occurring within at least one protected area). International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments and Bayesian neural network analyses for plants identify overexploitation of biological resources and unsustainable agriculture as the most prominent threats to biodiversity. We highlight five opportunities for action at multiple levels to ensure that conservation and ecological restoration objectives, programs, and activities take account of complex underlying and interacting factors and produce tangible benefits for the biodiversity and people of Madagascar.

Freitas, C., F. T. Brum, C. Cássia-Silva, L. Maracahipes, M. B. Carlucci, R. G. Collevatti, and C. D. Bacon. 2021. Incongruent Spatial Distribution of Taxonomic, Phylogenetic, and Functional Diversity in Neotropical Cocosoid Palms. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2021.739468

Biodiversity can be quantified by taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity. Current evidence points to a lack of congruence between the spatial distribution of these facets due to evolutionary and ecological constraints. A lack of congruence is especially evident between phylogenetic and ta…

Xue, T., S. R. Gadagkar, T. P. Albright, X. Yang, J. Li, C. Xia, J. Wu, and S. Yu. 2021. Prioritizing conservation of biodiversity in an alpine region: Distribution pattern and conservation status of seed plants in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Conservation 32: e01885. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01885

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) harbors abundant and diverse plant life owing to its high habitat heterogeneity. However, the distribution pattern of biodiversity hotspots and their conservation status remain unclear. Based on 148,283 high-resolution occurrence coordinates of 13,450 seed plants, w…

de Jesús Hernández-Hernández, M., J. A. Cruz, and C. Castañeda-Posadas. 2020. Paleoclimatic and vegetation reconstruction of the miocene southern Mexico using fossil flowers. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 104: 102827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102827

Concern about the course of the current environmental problems has raised interest in investigating the different scenarios that have taken place in our planet throughout time. To that end, different methodologies have been employed in order to determine the different variables that compose the envi…

Bellot, S., R. P. Bayton, T. L. P. Couvreur, S. Dodsworth, W. L. Eiserhardt, M. S. Guignard, H. W. Pritchard, et al. 2020. On the origin of giant seeds: the macroevolution of the double coconut ( Lodoicea maldivica ) and its relatives (Borasseae, Arecaceae). New Phytologist 228: 1134–1148. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.16750

Seed size shapes plant evolution and ecosystems, and may be driven by plant size and architecture, dispersers, habitat and insularity. How these factors influence the evolution of giant seeds is unclear, as are the rate of evolution and the biogeographical consequences of giant seeds. We generated D…

Carrasco, J., V. Price, V. Tulloch, and M. Mills. 2020. Selecting priority areas for the conservation of endemic trees species and their ecosystems in Madagascar considering both conservation value and vulnerability to human pressure. Biodiversity and Conservation 29: 1841–1854. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-020-01947-1

Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse countries in Africa, due to its level of endemism and species diversity. However, the pressure of human activities threatens the last patches of natural vegetation in the country and conservation decisions are undertaken with limited data availability. In thi…

Hawthorne, W. D., and C. A. M. Marshall. 2019. Rapid Botanic Survey, Bioquality and improving botanical inventory in the tropics by integrating across spatial scales. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 71: 315–333. https://doi.org/10.26492/gbs71(suppl.2).2019-21

We review the Rapid Botanic Survey method (RBS), in the context of botanical recording to date. The concept of bioquality, a biodiversity value respecting global rarity, is summarised. Bioquality assessment involves the Star system for categorising species by global rarity; and a Genetic Heat Index …

Margaroni, S., K. B. Petersen, R. Gleadow, and M. Burd. 2019. The role of spore size in the global pattern of co‐occurrence among Selaginella species. Journal of Biogeography 46: 807–815. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13532

Aim: Separation of regeneration niches may promote coexistence among closely related plant species, but there is little evidence that regeneration traits affect species ranges at broad geographical scales. We address patterns of co‐occurrence within the genus Selaginella, an ancient lineage of free‐…

Park, D. S., and O. H. Razafindratsima. 2018. Anthropogenic threats can have cascading homogenizing effects on the phylogenetic and functional diversity of tropical ecosystems. Ecography 42: 148–161. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.03825

Determining the mechanisms that underlie species distributions and assemblages is necessary to effectively preserve biodiversity. This cannot be accomplished by examining a single taxonomic group, as communities comprise a plethora of interactions across species and trophic levels. Here, we examine …

Piel, W. H. 2018. The global latitudinal diversity gradient pattern in spiders. Journal of Biogeography 45: 1896–1904. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13387

Aim: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the global latitudinal diversity gradient pattern in spiders is pear‐shaped, with maximum species diversity shifted south of the Equator, rather than egg‐shaped, centred on the equator, this study infers the gradient using two large datasets…