Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 695–704 | Cite as

Endemism, diversity, and the threat of tropical moist forest extinctions

  • Jeremy T. Kerr
  • Tormod V. Burkey


Extinction rates have risen to perhaps 104 the background rate. Much of this increase is due to projected influences of habitat loss on regions of the world with tropical moist forest. This ecosystem, home to a disproportionate amount of global biodiversity and a major regulator of regional and global climate, also faces disproportionately severe threats. In this study, we collect diversity and endemism data for tropical forested countries of the world, along with areal and socioeconomic data. While a correlation between overall numbers of species and endemic species per country is expected, we demonstrate that endemism patterns among birds and mammals remain very strongly convergent even after statistically rendering all countries equal in size and overall species richness and after adjusting for spatial autocorrelation. On a per country basis, mammals are generally more threatened than birds in these tropical moist forested countries. Human population growth rates and rising debt among these nations should be viewed as priorities for amelioration by the developed countries. Reserve network extent is not related to numbers of endemic mammals or birds at this large spatial scale.

endemic species protected areas threatened species tropical forests 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy T. Kerr
    • 1
  • Tormod V. Burkey
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Centre for Development and the EnvironmentUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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