Using spatial models to predict areas of endemism and gaps in the protection of Andean slope birds

The AukBruce E. Young

Seeking more precise knowledge of avian endemism on the east slope of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia, one of the most diverse faunal regions on Earth, we used distribution models based on locality records and 10 to 12 uncorrelated environmental variables to map the distributions of 115 species. Both maximum-entropy and deductive models reveal three areas of endemism, broadly supporting previous assessments of endemism in the region but showing much more detail. Regions such as the southwestern Cordillera de Vilcabamba and the Río Mapacho-Yavero valley in Cusco, Peru, and the Cordillera de Apolobamba in western Bolivia support a greater richness of endemic species than has been recognized, a result likely attributable to the ability of predictive models to partially control for biases in survey effort. National-level protected areas cover ≥1,000 km2 of the ranges, or four-fifths of the ranges of species with distributions <1,000 km2, of 77 percent of the endemic species. However, an analysis of summed irreplaceability, which emphasizes the locations of the most narrowly distributed endemics, showed that only 18 percent of these critical areas are currently protected. The fine-scale maps of endemic areas are suitable for regional and local-scale conservation planning, activities that can fill current gaps in protection of many species.

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Citation

  • Young BE, Franke I, Hernandez PA, Herzog KA, Paniagua L, Tovar C, and Valqui T. 2009. Using spatial models to predict areas of endemism and gaps in the protection of Andean slope birds. The Auk 126 (3): 554-565.