Brief Communications Arising | Published:

Geometry and scale in species–area relationships

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

Subjects

Abstract

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.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Species–area relationships always overestimate extinction rates from habitat loss. Nature 473, 368–371 (2011)

  2. 2.

    , & The future of vascular plant diversity under four global scenarios. Ecol. Soc. 11, 25 (2006)

  3. 3.

    , , & The future of biodiversity. Science 269, 347–350 (1995)

  4. 4.

    in Tropical Deforestation and Species Extinction (eds & ) 53–73 (Chapman and Hall, 1992)

  5. 5.

    & Implications of endemics–area relationships for estimates of species extinctions. Ecology 81, 3305–3311 (2000)

  6. 6.

    Loss of speciation rate will impoverish future diversity. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 98, 5404–5410 (2001)

  7. 7.

    Which function describes the species–area relationship best? A review and empirical evaluation. J. Biogeogr. 36, 728–744 (2009)

  8. 8.

    & Modeling biodiversity dynamics in countryside landscapes. Ecology 87, 1877–1885 (2006)

  9. 9.

    et al. in Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current States and Trends 77–126 (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005)

  10. 10.

    & Classifying threatened species—means and ends. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 344, 91–97 (1994)

  11. 11.

    , , , & Estimating extinction rates. Nature 364, 494–496 (1993)

  12. 12.

    et al. Scenarios for global biodiversity in the 21st century. Science 330, 1496–1501 (2010)

  13. 13.

    , & Projected impacts of climate and land-use change on the global diversity of birds. PLoS Biol. 5, e157 (2007)

  14. 14.

    et al. Erosion of lizard diversity by climate change and altered thermal niches. Science 328, 894–899 (2010)

  15. 15.

    , , & Climate change, elevational range shifts, and bird extinctions. Conserv. Biol. 22, 140–150 (2008)

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  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

Authors

  1. Search for Henrique Miguel Pereira in:

  2. Search for Luís Borda-de-Água in:

  3. Search for Inês Santos Martins in:

Contributions

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.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10857

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing