Spatial conservation prioritization for the East Asian islands: A balanced representation of multitaxon biogeography in a protected area network

Joona Lehtomäki, Buntarou Kusumoto, Takayuki Shiono, Takayuki Tanaka, Yasuhiro Kubota, Atte Moilanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: On the basis of multitaxon biogeographical processes related to region-specific geohistory and palaeoclimate, we identified a balanced and area-effective protected area network (PAN) expansion in the East Asian islands, a global biodiversity hotspot. Location: Japanese archipelago, Ryukyu archipelago and Izu-Bonin oceanic islands. Methods: We modelled the distributions of 6,325 species (amphibians, birds, freshwater fish, mammals, plants and reptiles) using 4,389,489 occurrence data points. We then applied the Zonation software for spatial conservation prioritization. First, we identified environmental drivers underpinning taxon-specific biodiversity patterns. Second, we analysed each taxon individually to understand baseline priority patterns. Third, we combined all taxa into an inclusive analysis to identify the most important PAN expansions. Results: Biodiversity patterns were well explained by geographical factors (climate, habitat stability, isolation and area), but their explanatory power differed between the taxa. There was remarkably little overlap between priority areas for the individual higher taxa. The inclusive prioritization analysis across all taxa identified priority regions, in particular in southern subtropical and mountainous areas. Expanding the PAN up to 17% would cover most of the ranges for rare and/or restricted-range species. On average, approximately 30% of the ranges of all species could be covered by the 17% expansion identified here. Main conclusions: Our analyses identified top candidates for the expansion of Japan's protected area network. Taxon-specific prioritization was informative for understanding the conservation priority patterns of different taxa associated with unique biogeographical processes. For the basis of PAN expansion, we recommend multi-taxon prioritization as an area-efficient compromise that reflects taxon-specific priority patterns. Spatial prioritization across multiple taxa provides a promising start for the development of conservation plans with the aim of long-term persistence of biodiversity on the East Asian islands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-429
Number of pages16
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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