oa African Entomology - Termite (lsoptera) distributions, endemism, species richness and priority conservation areas: consequences for land-use planning in South Africa



Spatial analyses of distribution patterns of selected termite taxa surveyed during the National Survey of Isoptera were used to compare various procedures for determining priority conservation areas for termites. Species richness and endemism hotspots are spatially separated. Selecting species-rich areas is shown to be inefficient while the use of complementarity-based procedures requires less land for achieving species representativeness. In addition, different complementarity-based procedures (equal species weighting, endemicity, taxonomic distinctiveness and a combination of endemism and taxonomic distinctiveness) vary in their land-use efficiency and in the extent to which they are congruent with areas containing formally protected areas as well as richness and endemism hotspots. As ecosystem engineers, termites are required for the maintenance of ecosystem functions in both conservation and production landscapes. Thus, the use of traditional protection strategies for termites appear insufficient and strategies that pursue production objectives within conservation constraints through adaptive management are required. We consequently propose a dual strategy. The first is aimed at the conservation of termite taxa in a core representative network. Second, we propose the establishment of a supplementary network of sites, comprising multiple representations of each species, for the experimental monitoring of termite persistence under different land-uses (indicator taxa).


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