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RMRS-GTR-58: Faunal characteristics of the Southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico: implications for biodiversity analysis and assessment


Cook, Rosamonde R.; Flather, Curtis H.; Wilson, Kenneth R. 2000. Faunal characteristics of the Southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico: implications for biodiversity analysis and assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-58. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 55 p.

To define the faunal context within which local and regional resource management decisions are made, conservation of biological diversity requires an understanding of regional species occurrence patterns. Our study focused on the Southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and included the San Juan, the Sangre de Cristo, and the Jemez Mountains. Across this region, we quantified patterns of species richness and faunal diversity based on reported and predicted occurrences for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and butterflies across this region. Specific hypotheses related to the origin and maintenance of observed diversity patterns were tested and interpreted based on their implication for biodiversity assessment and management. Our results suggest that species richness for any one of the taxonomic groups does not indicate species distributions of other taxa. For terrestrial vertebrates, variation in faunal differentiation among mountain ranges was associated more strongly with differences in dispersal ability than with differences in habitat composition. Those butterflies classified as montane specialists exhibited a higher degree of faunal differentiation than did all other montane specialist species. This pattern may be caused by a high degree of habitat specificity among montane butterflies or incomplete field surveys. Because some species groups show high degrees of faunal differentiation, maintaining the uniqueness of these faunas across the region will require a broad geographic focus and cooperative management among various agencies and groups.

Keywords: faunal differentiation, faunal similarity, Southwest biodiversity, Jemez Mountains, regional biodiversity patterns, species diversity, beta diversity, vertebrates, butterflies


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Title: RMRS-GTR-58: Faunal characteristics of the Southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico: implications for biodiversity analysis and assessment
Electronic Publish Date: December 16, 2005
Last Update:
December 16, 2005

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