Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 817–827 | Cite as

Global Diversity and Conservation Priorities in the Cactaceae

  • Pablo Ortega-Baes
  • Héctor Godínez-Alvarez


The purpose of this paper was to analyze the diversity patterns of Cactaceae at a global scale, to identify those countries where conservation actions should be performed. In order to do this, the species richness and the number of endemic species for 34 American countries were determined. With these data, the relationship between the total number of species or the number of endemic species and the area of the countries were analyzed. In addition, a complementarity analysis was conducted to determine the most important countries for cactus conservation. Results showed that Mexico had the highest number of total and endemic species followed by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru, among others. There was a significant positive relationship between both, the total and endemic species, and the area of the countries. Despite this fact, the cactus diversity in Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Costa Rica was higher than expected according to their area. Further, these countries also presented the highest proportions of endemic species. The complementarity analysis indicated that 24 countries are necessary to preserve all cactus species. However, 94% of all species could be preserved with only 10 countries. Considering the diversity patterns and the complementarity analysis, three important groups for cactus conservation were identified: (1) Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Costa Rica, (2) Paraguay and Cuba, and (3) Brazil and USA. Conservation efforts should be focused on these countries in order to preserve cactus diversity.


America Complementarity analysis Deserts Endemic species Species richness 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Investigaciones Botánicas (LABIBO), Facultad de Ciencias NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de SaltaSaltaArgentina
  2. 2.UBIPRO, FES-IztacalaUNAMEdo. de MéxicoMéxico
  3. 3.Instituto de EcologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México, ApdoMéxico

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