, Volume 19, Issue 12, pp 3393-3411,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Aug 2010

Cross-taxon congruence in tree, bird and bat species distributions at a moderate spatial scale across four tropical forest types in the Philippines

Abstract

Indicator species groups are often used as surrogates for overall biodiversity in conservation planning because inventories of multiple taxa are rare, especially in the tropics where most biodiversity is found. At coarse spatial scales most studies show congruence in the distribution of species richness and of endemic and threatened species of different species groups. At finer spatial scale levels however, cross-taxon congruence patterns are much more ambiguous. In this study we investigated cross-taxon patterns in the distribution of species richness of trees, birds and bats across four tropical forest types in a ca. 100 × 35 km area in the Northern Sierra Madre region of Luzon Island, Philippines. A non-parametric species richness estimator (Chao1) was used to compensate for differential sample sizes, sample strategies and completeness of species richness assessments. We found positive but weak congruence in the distribution of all and endemic tree and bird and tree and bat species richness across the four forest types; strong positive congruence in the distribution of all and endemic bat and bird species richness and low or negative congruence in the distribution of globally threatened species between trees, birds and bats. We also found weak cross-taxon congruence in the complementarity of pairs of forest types in species richness between trees and birds and birds and bats but strong congruence in complementarity of forest pairs between trees and bats. This study provides further evidence that congruence in the distribution of different species groups is often ambiguous at fine to moderate spatial scales. Low or ambiguous cross-taxon congruence complicates the use of indicator species and species groups as a surrogate for biodiversity in general for local systematic conservation planning.