Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 681–690 | Cite as

Species distribution profiles of the neotropical orchids Masdevallia and Dracula (Pleurothallidinae, Orchidaceae); implications for conservation

  • Harold Koopowitz
  • Alan Thornhill
  • Mark Anderson
Papers

The orchid genera Masdevallia and Dracula bear very strange and bizarre flowers. They are, however, very popular with plant enthusiasts and there is a fair amount of commercial trade in these genera. The genera belong to a sub-tribe of the orchids, the Pleurothallidinae, which otherwise mostly have small and insignificant flowers. The majority of the species of Masdevallia and Dracula have been reported from single localities and approximately two thirds of all species are found at three or fewer sites. Most genera in the sub-tribe have similar distribution patterns. Using published deforestation rates and species distribution profiles we calculate that 402 of the total 3405 pleurothallid species may have been driven to extinction by random deforestation events. It is possible that as many as 46 Masdevallia species and 14 Dracula species have already been lost and that annual extinction rates for the two genera are 1 and 0.3 species per year respectively. It has been suggested that the two genera should be protected, by listing them in CITES Appendix I. It is unlikely that embargoes on trade would change extinction rates caused by forest conversion. Such embargoes might actually hamper ex situ conservation efforts.

Keywords

orchids pleurothallids modelling 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Atwood, J. (1986) The size of the Orchidaceae and the systematic distribution of epiphytic orchids. Selbyana 9, 171–186.Google Scholar
  2. Bockemuhl, L. (1989) Odontoglossum: Monographie und Ikonographie. Brucke-Verlag Schmersow, Hildesheim.Google Scholar
  3. Collins, M. (1990) The Last Rainforests: a World Conservation Atlas. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Dodson, C.H. and Gentry, A.H. (1991) Biological extinction in western Ecuador. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 78, 273–95.Google Scholar
  5. FAO (1991) FAO Yearbook Production 1990. Volume 44. (FAO Statistics Series No. 99.) Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
  6. Foster, R.B. and Hubbell, S.P. (1990) The floristic composition of the Barro Colorado Island forest. In Four Neotropical Rainforests (A., Gentry, ed.) pp. 85–98. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hammel, B. (1990) The distribution of diversity among families, genera, and habit types in the La Selva flora. In Four Neotropical Rainforests (A., Gentry, ed.) pp. 75–84. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Koopowitz, H. (1992) A stochastic model for the extinction of tropical orchids. Selbyana 13, 115–22.Google Scholar
  9. Koopowitz, H., Thornhill, A.D. and Anderson, M. (1993) A general stochastic model for the prediction of biodiversity losses based on habitat conversion. Conservation Biology. In press.Google Scholar
  10. Kraenzlin, F. (1925) Monographie der Gattungen Masdevallia Ruiz et Pavon, Lothiania Kraenzl., Scaphosepalum Pfitzer, Cryptophoranthus Barb. Rodr., Pseudoctomeria Kraenzl. Reportorium specierum novarum regni vegetabilis 34, 1–204.Google Scholar
  11. Lubchenco, J., Olson, A.M., Brubaker, L.B., Carpenter, S.R., Holland, M.M., Hubbell, S.P., Levin, S.A., MacMahon, J.A., Matson, P.A., Melillo, J.M., Mooney, H.A., Peterson, C.H., Pulliam, H.R., Real, L.A., Regal, P.J., Risser, P.G. (1991) The sustainable biosphere initiative: an ecological research agenda. Ecology. 72: 371–412.Google Scholar
  12. Lugo, A.E. (1988) Estimating reductions in the diversity of tropical forest species. In Biodiversity (E.O., Wilson, ed.) pp. 58–70. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  13. Luer, C.A. (1983–91) Thesaurus Masdevalliarium. Parts 1–16. Munich: Verlag Helga Koniger.Google Scholar
  14. Luer, C.A. (1987) Icones Pleurothallidinarum. IV. Systematics of Acoustaea, Condylago and Porroglossum (Orchidaceae). Monograph. Syst. Bot. Miss. Bot. Gard. 24, 1–91.Google Scholar
  15. Luer, C.A. (1988) Icones Pleurothallidinarum. V. Systematics of Dresslerella and Scaphosepalum. (Orchidaceae). Monograph. Syst. Bot. Miss. Bot. Gard. 26, 1–11.Google Scholar
  16. Luer, C.A. (1989) Icones Pleurothallidinarum. VI. Systematics of Pleurothallis, subgenus Ancipitia, subgenus Scopula and Tristella (Orchidaceae). Monograph. Syst. Bot. Miss. Bot. Gard. 31, 1–125.Google Scholar
  17. Luer, C.A. (1990) Icones Pleurothallidinarum. VII. Systematics of Platystele (Orchidaceae). Monograph. Syst. Bot. Miss. Bot. Gard. 38, 1–135.Google Scholar
  18. Luer, C.A. (1991) Icones Pleurothallidinarum. VIII. Systematics of Lepanthopsis, Octomeria subgenus Pleurothallopsis, Restrepiopsis, Salpistele and Teaguela (Orchidaceae). Monograph. Syst. Bot. Miss. Bot. Gard. 39, 1–161.Google Scholar
  19. Luer, C.A. and Escobar, R. (1988–1992) Thesaurus Dracularum. Parts 1–5. St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Gardens.Google Scholar
  20. Schweinfurth, C. (1958–1961) Orchids of Peru. Feildiana. Botany 30, 1–1005.Google Scholar
  21. Seidenfaden, G. (1992) CITES — difficulties for scientists. Orchid Res. Newslet. No. 20, 4–5.Google Scholar
  22. Smith, L.B. and Downs, R.J. (1974) Pitcairnioideae (Bromeliaceae). Monograph No. 14, Part 1, Flora Neotropica. New York: Hafner Press.Google Scholar
  23. Smith, L.B. and Downs, R.J. (1977) Tillandsioideae (Bromeliaceae). Monograph No. 14, Part 2, Flora Neotropica. New York: Hafner Press.Google Scholar
  24. Smith, L.B. and Downs, R.J. (1979) Bromelioideae (Bromeliaceae). Monograph No. 14, Part 3, Flora Neotropica. New York: New York Botanical Garden.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Koopowitz
    • 1
  • Alan Thornhill
    • 1
  • Mark Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations