Biodiv Sci ›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (6): 549-559.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.09144

Special Issue: 群落中的物种多样性:格局与机制

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Species-area relationship in biological communities

Zhiyao Tang*(), Xiujuan Qiao, Jingyun Fang   

  1. Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Center for Ecological Research & Education, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2009-06-04 Accepted:2009-11-16 Online:2009-11-20 Published:2009-11-20
  • Contact: Zhiyao Tang


The manner in which species richness increases with increasing sampling area is among the important laws of ecology. However, forms and parameters of the species-area relationships vary depending on sampling methods, climate, and spatial scales. Because the species-area relationships connect biodiversity at different scales, they are used for estimating species richness at local or regional scales, and for assessing regional biodiversity losses. Here, we review recent developments in the forms, spatial variation in parameters, applications, and scale-dependence of species-area relationships. As a case study, we used species-area relationships to estimate number of plant species in different regions of the Qinling Mountains, and found that the well-consistent estimated and recorded numbers of species were achieved for different nature reserves in the Qinling Mountains.

Key words: scale, richness estimate, species-area relationship