Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 2683–2694 | Cite as

Fine-scale endemism of Amazonian birds in a threatened landscape

Brief Communication

Abstract

The region recognized as the Rondônia area of endemism is one of the most threatened in the Brazilian Amazon. In addition to rampant deforestation that took place during the 1980s and 1990s, it is now the locus of infrastructure development and economic expansion. However, the patterns of species distribution and diversity in this region are much more complex than previously recognized. Patterns of distribution of birds, primates, and butterflies strongly suggest that the Rondônia area of endemism is not biogeographically homogenous. On opposite banks of the Madeira tributaries, in particular the Aripuanã and Jiparaná rivers, there are genetically, morphologically, and vocally distinct bird populations with restricted distributions and geographic substitution. These areas are relatively small and already highly threatened by deforestation and economic development. Up to 70 % of the Jiparaná basin has been deprived of its original forest cover. Thus, their unique populations deserve to be recognized as conservation priorities and urgently included in conservation planning blueprints. Many restricted taxa, including many yet to be described, may already be highly endangered or locally extinct. Conservation planning in the Brazilian Amazon directed at specifying areas to be protected has focused on the larger proposed areas of endemism. If fine-scale endemism in threatened areas does exist in other Amazonian regions, then conservation policies that do not recognize these patterns will not adequately protect regional diversity.

Keywords

Amazonia Areas of endemism Conservation Deforestation Cryptic endemism Phylogeography 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ornithological Collection, Museu Paraense Emílio GoeldiBelémBrazil

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