Higher risk of local extinction for species with small ranges

Study shows that among vascular plants range size predicts the risk of local extinction from habitat loss

Data resources used via GBIF : 247,231,174 species occurrences
Gentiana depressa
Gentiana depressa observed in Langtang, Nepal by Yaling Lin. Photo via iNaturalist (CC BY-NC 4.0)

At the global scale, species with small ranges are more likely to face extinction when threatened by changes in climate or land use. It is not well-documented, however, whether this risk also applies at the local level.

This study by researchers from Germany used historical land-use data combined with GBIF-mediated plant occurrences to derive species range based on number of grid cells occupied by a given species. They then identified cells that had experienced natural habitat loss and the species present before and after the change.

Grouping species into small or large ranges, the author calculated the probabilities of a group persisting at given amount of habitat lost, showing that small-range species have a steeper decline than for large-range plants.

At 80 per cent habitat loss, for example, the probability of persisting for species with larger ranges is higher than 85 per cent, while small-range species have a slightly, albeit significantly lower persistence probability of 75 per cent.

Original article

Staude IR, Navarro LM and Pereira HM (2019) Range size predicts the risk of local extinction from habitat loss. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Wiley 29(1): 16–25. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13003

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