J Syst Evol ›› 2024, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (2): 291-304.DOI: 10.1111/jse.13041

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Approaching inselberg biodiversity conservation through plant growth and dispersal strategies

Luiz Bondi1,2*, Camila M. Patreze1, Ricardo P. Louro3, and Laura Jane M. Santiago1   

  1. 1 Department of Botany, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Pasteur 458, Rio de Janeiro 22290-240, RJ, Brazil;
    2 Department of Botany, University of Rostock, Wismarsche Str. 44-45, Rostock 18057, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany;
    3 Department of Botany, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Carlos Chagas Filho 373, Rio de Janeiro 21941-902, RJ, Brazil
    *Author for correspondence. E-mail:luizbondi@gmail.com
  • Received:2023-06-21 Accepted:2023-11-03 Online:2023-12-14 Published:2024-03-01

Abstract: Climate change is promoting global declines in plant diversity, which are expected to be more critical in islands or island-like ecosystems due to environmental constraints and isolation. The species' vulnerability to climate change (VUL) depends on their ability to cope with changes or mitigate them. Therefore, we investigate the influence of growth and dispersal strategies of species from the Sugarloaf Rock Complex, Brazil, an island-like ecosystem, on their niche breadth (NB), long-dispersal (LD) capacity, and geographical range (GR). Besides, we evaluate the potential use of these strategies as indicators of species' VUL. We found that rock specialists exhibit narrower NB, lower LD capacity, and a more restricted GR when compared to other species. We also found that 63% of rock specialists are found in conservation red-lists and they are more vulnerable to climate change than woody plants. Conversely, self-dispersed plants are expected to be less vulnerable to climate change when compared to species with other dispersal mechanisms. Species vulnerable to climate change are 14 times more likely to be included in conservation red lists, and it might indicate that the species' VUL might also describe the species' vulnerability to other anthropogenic threats. Still, we suggest conservation attention on some species that are expected to be vulnerable to climate change but were not yet included in conservation red lists. We advocate for more efforts to ensure the conservation aspects of different functional groups in which inselbergs might not only offer isolation but also a refuge opportunity.

Key words: climate change, dispersal, ecological niche, geographical range, rock outcrop, species vulnerability