Abstract Detail



Conservation Biology

Pischl, Phyllis [1], Burke, Sean [2], Jaeger, Collin [3], Duvall, M [4].

Endangered plants persist in metropolitan (urban) Illinois landscapes.

The loss of biodiversity is a global problem.  The decrease in biodiversity can be attributed to a loss of species and a loss of habitats.  The state of Illinois has little of its natural habitats remaining due to anthropogenic changes caused by agriculture, industry, and urbanization.  The negative effects of urbanization on habitat quality, continuity, and the ability to support native plant communities are particularly well documented.  In contrast the remaining forests, shrublands, and grasslands would be expected to maintain the native plant species.  This study investigates the seed plants at the greatest risk of extirpation in Illinois, the state-listed endangered and threatened species.  The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board and the Illinois Natural History Survey chronicle the occurrence and distribution of state-listed endangered and threatened species.  The reason the majority of these plant species are listed is due to “restricted habitats or low populations.”  These restricted habitats generally contain unique natural features such as sand dunes or dolomite outcrops not common in the state.  In this research, we extracted the frequency of endangered/threatened species per county from these records.  We also calculated the proportion of land cover per county for anthropogenic, non-anthropogenic, and protected areas.  Using these data, we modeled the distribution of state-listed endangered and threatened seed plants as a function of land cover and human population density.  Unexpectedly, our study revealed that many endangered plant species are located in counties with high levels of human development and population densities.  Note that a high degree of agricultural land cover was negatively associated with the presence of endangered/threatened seed plant species.  The explanation for this could be that unlike agricultural areas, urban areas also contain large proportions of protected land, such as state parks and nature preserves.  We provide statistical evidence that endangered/threatened species are persistent in highly populated areas, given that there are protected lands with adequate habitat for them to grow.  These results underscore the importance of protecting vulnerable habitats essential for maintaining biodiversity.  The role that protected lands play in the conservation of biodiversity is crucial to prevent extirpation of endangered/threatened seed plant species in the state and clearly indicate the value of the continued operation of protected lands in Illinois to maintain biodiversity.   


1 - Northern Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1425 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL, 60115, United States
2 - Northern Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy, DeKalb, IL, 60115, United States
3 - Northern Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1425 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL, 60115, USA
4 - Northern Illinois University, Plant Molecular And Bioinformatics Center And Department Of Biology, 1425 W Lincoln Hwy, Dekalb, IL, 60115, United States

Keywords:
Endangered Species
biodiversity
land cover
protected land
Illinois.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number:
Abstract ID:610
Candidate for Awards:None


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