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Spatial analysis of endemism to redefine conservation areas in Western Ghats (India)

Abstract : A meaningful effort for the preservation of endemism would require a deep understanding of its relatedmechanisms and an accurate estimation of its spatial distribution. Here, we applied methods dedicatedto species distribution modelling (SDM) to map an integrated index in India’s Western Ghats biodiver-sity hotspot, the endemic tree richness, and to use it for recommendations of protected areas. We thenrigorously compared SDM results with spatially explicit and multiscale comparison tools, among themthe cutting-edge correlation map and profile (CMP) technique, to finally draw up an endemic richnessmap with improved accuracy. The endemic richness showed a sharply increasing southward gradient in the Western Ghats, mainlydriven by the seasonality of the temperature and the precipitation’s stability. This precise quantificationof the tree endemism pattern in peninsular India helped in identifying vulnerable areas in terms ofconservation of biodiversity as a whole. The Indian authorities recently used our recommendations toextend protected areas in the southern tip of the Indian peninsula to conserve this endemic richness.We believe that spatial analyses and multiscale comparison tools such as those presented here can helpconservationists everywhere to better cope with the difficulties met in identifying zones for protectedstatus.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 12, 2016 - 11:08:39 AM
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Cédric Gaucherel, R. Vezy,, F. Gontrand,, D. Bouchet,, B.R. Ramesh. Spatial analysis of endemism to redefine conservation areas in Western Ghats (India). Journal for Nature Conservation, Elsevier, 2016, 34, pp.33-41. ⟨10.1016/j.jnc.2016.09.002⟩. ⟨hal-01414244⟩



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