Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Geometry and scale in species–area relationships

Nature volume 482, pages E3E4 (23 February 2012) | Download Citation



Arising from F. He & S. P. Hubbell Nature 473, 368–371 (2011)10.1038/nature09985.

He and Hubbell developed a sampling theory for the species–area relationship (SAR) and the endemics–area relationship (EAR)1. They argued that the number of extinctions after habitat loss is described by the EAR and that extinction rates in previous studies are overestimates because the EAR is always lower than the SAR. Here we show that their conclusion is not general and depends on the geometry of habitat destruction and the scale of the SAR. We also question their critique of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment estimates, as those estimates are not dependent on the SAR only, although important uncertainties remain due to other methodological issues.

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  1. Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.

    • Henrique Miguel Pereira
    • , Luís Borda-de-Água
    •  & Inês Santos Martins


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All authors participated in the discussion of the ideas that resulted in this paper. H.M.P. wrote the paper, L.B.-d.-A. performed the data analysis, and I.S.M. prepared the data sets for analysis.

Competing interests

Declared none.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henrique Miguel Pereira.

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