Journal Article

Species-richness patterns of the living collections of the world's botanic gardens: a matter of socio-economics?

Janice Golding, Sabine Güsewell, Holger Kreft, Victor Y. Kuzevanov, Susanna Lehvävirta, Ingrid Parmentier and Marco Pautasso

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 5, pages 689-696
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq043
Species-richness patterns of the living collections of the world's botanic gardens: a matter of socio-economics?

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Background and Aims

The botanic gardens of the world are now unmatched ex situ collections of plant biodiversity. They mirror two biogeographical patterns (positive diversity–area and diversity–age relationships) but differ from nature with a positive latitudinal gradient in their richness. Whether these relationships can be explained by socio-economic factors is unknown.

Methods

Species and taxa richness of a comprehensive sample of botanic gardens were analysed as a function of key ecological and socio-economic factors using (a) multivariate models controlling for spatial autocorrelation and (b) structural equation modelling.

Key Results

The number of plant species in botanic gardens increases with town human population size and country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person. The country flora richness is not related to the species richness of botanic gardens. Botanic gardens in more populous towns tend to have a larger area and can thus host richer living collections. Botanic gardens in richer countries have more species, and this explains the positive latitudinal gradient in botanic gardens' species richness.

Conclusions

Socio-economic factors contribute to shaping patterns in the species richness of the living collections of the world's botanic gardens.

Keywords: Biodiversity loss; global priorities; hotspots conservation; large-scale patterns; local and regional diversity; macroecology; plant biogeography; rarity; species–people correlation; species–time relationship; tropical ecosystems; urban ecology

Journal Article.  5306 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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