Spatial components of bird diversity in the Andes of Colombia: Implications for designing a regional reserve system

Gustavo H. Kattan, Padu Franco, Carlos A. Saavedra-Rodríguez, Carlos Valderrama, Vladimir Rojas, Daniel Osorio, Jesús Martínez

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37 Scopus citations


Beta diversity, or the turnover in species composition among sampling sites in a region, is an important criterion for obtaining adequate representation of regional biodiversity in systems of protected areas. Recently, the additive model for partitioning regional (gamma) diversity (in opposition to the multiplicative model) has been proposed because it allows a direct measure of the contribution of beta diversity to gamma diversity. We determined avian beta diversity along latitudinal (among neighboring river drainages) and elevational axes in a 1347-km2 region on the western slope of the Central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes, where a regional system of protected areas is being designed. We then compared avian beta diversity between sites based on rapid versus long-term (>1 year) inventories and between fragmented sites versus continuous forest. Overall, beta diversity represented 63.7% of gamma diversity among 16 sites. Elevational differences in species composition accounted for 43-3% of regional diversity, whereas differences among drainages accounted for 19.8%. A complementary cluster analysis showed that sites grouped by elevational zones. Rapid inventories overestimated beta diversity because of sampling effects, but the effect was biologically small. Estimators of species richness derived from species accumulation curves provided a useful alternative to compensate for undersampling in short-term surveys. Forest fragmentation increased beta diversity because of differential local extinction of populations. Nevertheless, in our region, forest fragments contributed to gamma diversity because they contained complementary sets of species. More importantly, they contained populations of special-interest species. Although the region is relatively small, our analyses indicate that spatial differentiation of the biota is an important factor for deciding number and location of protected areas in the Andean region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1203-1211
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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