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      Geographic distribution patterns and status assessment of threatened plants in China

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      Biodiversity and Conservation

      Springer Nature

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          The future of biodiversity.

          Recent extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times their pre-human levels in well-known, but taxonomically diverse groups from widely different environments. If all species currently deemed "threatened" become extinct in the next century, then future extinction rates will be 10 times recent rates. Some threatened species will survive the century, but many species not now threatened will succumb. Regions rich in species found only within them (endemics) dominate the global patterns of extinction. Although new technology provides details of habitat losses, estimates of future extinctions are hampered by our limited knowledge of which areas are rich in endemics.
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            Global patterns and determinants of vascular plant diversity.

            Plants, with an estimated 300,000 species, provide crucial primary production and ecosystem structure. To date, our quantitative understanding of diversity gradients of megadiverse clades such as plants has been hampered by the paucity of distribution data. Here, we investigate the global-scale species-richness pattern of vascular plants and examine its environmental and potential historical determinants. Across 1,032 geographic regions worldwide, potential evapotranspiration, the number of wet days per year, and measurements of topographical and habitat heterogeneity emerge as core predictors of species richness. After accounting for environmental effects, the residual differences across the major floristic kingdoms are minor, with the exception of the uniquely diverse Cape Region, highlighting the important role of historical contingencies. Notably, the South African Cape region contains more than twice as many species as expected by the global environmental model, confirming its uniquely evolved flora. A combined multipredictor model explains approximately 70% of the global variation in species richness and fully accounts for the enigmatic latitudinal gradient in species richness. The models illustrate the geographic interplay of different environmental predictors of species richness. Our findings highlight that different hypotheses about the causes of diversity gradients are not mutually exclusive, but likely act synergistically with water-energy dynamics playing a dominant role. The presented geostatistical approach is likely to prove instrumental for identifying richness patterns of the many other taxa without single-species distribution data that still escape our understanding.
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              Conservation Biogeography: assessment and prospect

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biodiversity and Conservation
                Biodivers Conserv
                Springer Nature
                0960-3115
                1572-9710
                June 2008
                April 2008
                : 17
                : 7
                : 1783-1798
                Article
                10.1007/s10531-008-9384-6
                © 2008
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