Endemism hotspots are linked to stable climatic refugia

What causes endemism hotspots? In a world of climate change, these refugia may be connected to areas of relative climate stability.
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Climatic stability has long been considered as a key driver underlying the existence of endemism hotspots, which are defined as geographic regions with high concentrations of plant species found nowhere else on the planet. In this Viewpoint, Harrison and Noss review the linkage between climatic stability and endemism and find it to be supported by ever-increasing geographic, climatic, botanical and genetic evidence.

Currently recognized global hotspots of plant endemism, which are defined as having >1500 endemic plant species and >70 % habitat conversion.
Currently recognized global hotspots of plant endemism, which are defined as having >1500 endemic plant species and >70 % habitat conversion.

Some studies predict that endemism hotspots will remain more climatically stable than other regions as the climate changes in the near future. In light of this evidence, the Guest Editors of the AoB Special Issue on Endemism Hotspots as Climate Change Refugia call for a renewed focus on the identification and conservation of endemism hotspots, whether or not they are currently threatened by habitat loss.

Endemism Hotspots Cover

This article opens the AoB Special Issue on Endemism Hotspots as Climate Change Refugia, which is free access for a couple of months, then behind the paywall for a while before being free access after February 2017.

Reference

Harrison, S., & Noss, R. (2017). Endemism hotspots are linked to stable climatic refugia. Annals of Botany, 119(2), 207–214. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcw248


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