Habitat subdivision by geography or human activity may be an important determinant of regional species richness. Cumulative species-area relationships for vertebrates, land plants, and insects on island archipelagoes show that collections of small islands generally harbor more species than comparable areas composed of one or a few large islands. The effect of the degree of habitat subdivision in increasing species richness appears to increase with the distance from potential sources of colonists. Mountaintop biotas show no clear differences between species richness on large alpine areas and collections of smaller peaks. National park faunas generally have more species in collections of small parks than in the larger parks. In all cases where a consistent effect of subdivision is observed, the more subdivided collection of islands or isolates contains more species. To the degree that these data provide guidance for establishing nature reserves, they suggest that increasing the numbers of reserves may be an important component of conservation strategies.
Oecologia – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 1988
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