A quantitative topographic analysis of the Sky Islands: a closer examination of the topography-biodiversity relationship in the Madrean Archipelago

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  • Authors: Coblentz, David; Riitters, Kurt H.
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
  • Source: In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II. Proc. RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 69-74

Abstract

The relationship between topography and biodiversity is well documented in the Madrean Archipelago. However, despite this recognition, most biogeographical studies concerning the role of topography have relied primarily on a qualitative description of the landscape. Using an algorithm that operates on a high-resolution digital elevation model we present a quantitative analysis of the topographic fabric in the Madrean Archipelago and explored its utility by evaluating a topography-based predicted biodiversity map. In general, we find excellent agreement between the predicted and observed (based on land cover imagery) biodiversity throughout much of the Sky Island region. While readily acknowledging that many other biological factors influence biodiversity, this study establishes an important first-order estimate of the role topography plays in the regional- to continental-scale biodiversity, particularly in regions characterized by insular mountain fabrics such as the Sky Island region.

  • Citation: Coblentz, David; Riitters, Kurt H. 2005. A quantitative topographic analysis of the Sky Islands: a closer examination of the topography-biodiversity relationship in the Madrean Archipelago. In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II. Proc. RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 69-74
  • Keywords: topography, biodiversity, biogeography, geoecology, land cover, Sky Islands, Madrean Archipelago
  • Posted Date: June 8, 2006
  • Modified Date: July 18, 2007
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