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Species rarity: definition, causes, and classificationAuthor(s): Curtis H. Flather; Carolyn Hull Sieg
Source: In: Raphael, Martin G.; Molina, Randy, eds. Conservation of rare or little-known species: Biological, social, and economic considerations. Washington, DC: Island Press: 40-66.
Publication Series: Book Chapter
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (1.68 MB)
DescriptionIn virtually all ecological communities around the world, most species are represented by few individuals, and most individuals come from only a few of the most common species. Why this distribution of species abundances is so regularly observed among different taxonomic sets in geographically diverse systems is a question that has received considerable theoretical and empirical investigation (Preston 1948, 1962; Harte et aL 1999; Hubbell. 2001). Understanding the mechanisms leading to the pattern of few common and many rare species extends beyond basic interest in how natural communities are assembled. It is also of great practical importance to conservation science since human uses of ecosystems can greatly affect the pattern of commonness and rarity in the biota inhabiting those same ecosystems (Lubchenco et. al. 1991).
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CitationFlather, Curtis H.; Sieg, Carolyn Hull. 2007. Species rarity: definition, causes, and classification. In: Raphael, Martin G.; Molina, Randy, eds. Conservation of rare or little-known species: Biological, social, and economic considerations. Washington, DC: Island Press: 40-66.
Keywordsspecies commonness and rarity, conservation, ecosystems
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