Loss of habitat, specifically deforestation, is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Species-area relationship (SAR) models traditionally have been used for estimating species richness, species loss as a function of habitat loss, and extrapolation of richness for given areas. Sampling-species relationships (SSRs) are interrelated yet separate drivers for species richness estimates. Traditionally, however, SAR and SSR models have been used independently and not incorporated into a single approach. We developed and compared predictive models that incorporate sampling effort species-area relationships (SESARS) along the entire Atlantic Forest of South America, and then applied the best-fit model to estimate richness in forest remnants of Interior Atlantic Forest of eastern Paraguay. This framework was applied to non-volant small mammal assemblages that reflect different tolerances to forest loss and fragmentation. In order to account for differences in functionality we estimated small mammal richness of 1) the entire non-volant small mammal assemblage, including introduced species; 2) the native species forest assemblage; and 3) the forest-specialist assemblage, with the latter two assemblages being subsets of the entire assemblage. Finally, we geospatially modeled species richness for each of the three assemblages throughout eastern Paraguay to identify remnants with high species richness. We found that multiple regression power-law interaction-term models that only included area and the interactions of area and sampling as predictors, worked best for predicting species richness for the entire assemblage and the native species forest assemblage, while several traditional SAR models (logistic, power, exponential, and ratio) best described forest-specialist richness. Species richness was significantly different between assemblages. We identified obvious remnants with high species richness in eastern Paraguay, and these remnants often were geographically isolated. We also found relatively high predicted species richness (in relation to the entire range of predicted richness values) in several geographically-isolated, medium-size forest remnants that likely have not been considered as possible priority areas for conservation. These findings highlight the importance of using an empirical dataset, created using sources representing diverse sampling efforts, to develop robust predictive models. This approach is particularly important in geographic locations where field sampling is limited yet the geographic area is experiencing rapid and dramatic land cover changes. When combined, area and sampling are powerful modeling predictors for questions of biogeography, ecology, and conservation, especially when addressing habitat loss and fragmentation.