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Which Species Should We Focus On? Umbrella Species Assessment in Southwest China

1
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-environmental Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
4
Institute of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu 610041, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biology 2019, 8(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology8020042
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Conservation Biology and Biodiversity)
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Abstract

In conservation biology, umbrella species are often used as agents for a broader set of species, or as representatives of an ecosystem, and their conservation is expected to benefit a large number of naturally co-occurring species. Southwest China is home to not only global biodiversity hotspots, but also rapid economic and population growth and extensive changes in land use. However, because of the large regional span, the diverse species distributions, and the difficulty of field investigations, traditional methods used to assess umbrella species are not suitable for implementation in Southwest China. In the current study, we assessed 810 key protected species from seven taxa by indicator value analysis, correlation analysis, and factor analysis. We selected 32 species as umbrella species, whose habitats overlapped the habitats of 97% of the total species. Furthermore, the selected species were significantly correlated with 70% of all species in the study area. A total of 16 out of 19 selected animal species have been previously mentioned as umbrella species, compared with only 3 out of 13 plants species; this is despite plants accounting for a large proportion of the total species in Southwest China. We discuss the roles of indicator species and co-occurring species, and provide suggestions for species protection in Southwest China based on the current results. Our research provides valuable scientific information for research on umbrella conservation species over large geographical scales, and related fields of biodiversity conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: umbrella species; biodiversity conservation; Southwest China; indicator value analysis; correlation analysis; factor analysis umbrella species; biodiversity conservation; Southwest China; indicator value analysis; correlation analysis; factor analysis
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Shi, X.; Gong, C.; Zhang, L.; Hu, J.; Ouyang, Z.; Xiao, Y. Which Species Should We Focus On? Umbrella Species Assessment in Southwest China. Biology 2019, 8, 42.

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