Spatial phylogenetics of the Chinese angiosperm flora provides insights into endemism and conservation
Background : The flora of China is well known for its high diversity and endemism. Identifying centers of endemism and designating conservation priorities are essential goals for biodiversity studies. We implemented a spatial phylogenetic analysis of the Chinese angiosperm flora at the generic level to identify centers of neo- and paleo-endemism. Phylogenetic endemism (PE) centers were compared with taxonomic endemism centers, and their implications for conservation were examined. Results: (1)
... he majority of grid cells in China with significant PE showed concentrations of mixed- or paleo-endemism and were mainly located in the mountainous regions. (2) Nine geographic centers of endemism were identified for 3,513 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Four of these, located in northern and western China, were recognized for the first time. (3) Arid and semiarid regions were commonly linked to significant PE, as has been found in other spatial phylogenetics studies worldwide. (4) Six high-priority conservation gaps were detected by overlaying the boundaries of China's nature reserves on all significant PE cells. Conclusions: Mountainous regions are both "museums" and "cradles" for Chinese angiosperms, including the mountains of southern and northern China. The areas we highlight as priorities are important for broad-scale conservation planning, especially in the context of evolutionary history preservation.