Can the geographic patterning of endemic plant species inform reserve selection in a region of high endemism?Location:
The Southeastern Coastal Plain of North America, focusing primarily on the imperiled longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Miller) ecosystem.Methods:
We documented the high level of plant endemism in the region, and characterized the endemic taxa into distributional subregions.Results:
A total of 1630 plant taxa are endemic to the Coastal Plain, a large proportion of which are endemic to phytogeographical subregions within the Coastal Plain, with particularly large numbers of narrow endemics occurring in the East Gulf Coastal Plain and Florida Peninsula.Conclusions:
This pattern of local endemism presents challenges in conserving the full biota of the region: a reserve system focusing on few and large conservation areas has theoretical benefits for long-term management and viability, but will fail to capture many local endemics. We propose that the dispersed distribution of endemic species will require a mixture of large core reserves and smaller satellite reserves.