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J Environ Manage. 2005 Jan;74(1):79-87.

Cross-taxonomic potential and spatial transferability of an umbrella species index.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


Validation that conservation of certain species effectively protects a high proportion of co-occurring species is rare. Our previous work has suggested that an umbrella index based on geographic distribution and life history characteristics would maximize the proportion of conspecifics protected per unit area conserved. Using bird and butterfly data from three mountain ranges in the Great Basin, we examined whether umbrella species also would confer protection to species in different taxonomic groups. Further, we addressed the spatial transferability of umbrella species by considering whether species identified as umbrellas in one mountain range would be effective umbrellas in other mountain ranges. Overall, equal proportions of species would be protected using either cross-taxonomic umbrella species or same-taxon umbrella species. Our data suggested that in a given mountain range, umbrella species identified using data from the same mountain range versus a different mountain range would be equally effective. The ability of one set of umbrella species to confer protection to co-occurring species, however, may vary among taxonomic groups and geographic regions.

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