Global patterns of vascular plant alpha diversity

Francesco Maria Sabatini, Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Ute Jandt, Milan Chytrý, Richard Field, Michael Kessler, Jonathan Lenoir, Franziska Schrodt, Susan K. Wiser, Mohammed A.S. Arfin Khan, Fabio Attorre, Luis Cayuela, Michele De Sanctis, Jürgen Dengler, Sylvia Haider, Mohamed Z. Hatim, Adrian Indreica, Florian Jansen, Aníbal Pauchard, Robert K. PeetPetr Petřík, Valério D. Pillar, Brody Sandel, Marco Schmidt, Zhiyao Tang, Peter van Bodegom, Kiril Vassilev, Cyrille Violle, Esteban Alvarez-Davila, Priya Davidar, Jiri Dolezal, Bruno Hérault, Antonio Galán-de-Mera, Jorge Jiménez, Stephan Kambach, Sebastian Kepfer-Rojas, Holger Kreft, Felipe Lezama, Reynaldo Linares-Palomino, Abel Monteagudo Mendoza, Justin K. N’Dja, Oliver L. Phillips, Gonzalo Rivas-Torres, Petr Sklenář, Karina Speziale, Ben J. Strohbach, Rodolfo Vásquez Martínez, Hua Feng Wang, Karsten Wesche, Helge Bruelheide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Global patterns of regional (gamma) plant diversity are relatively well known, but whether these patterns hold for local communities, and the dependence on spatial grain, remain controversial. Using data on 170,272 georeferenced local plant assemblages, we created global maps of alpha diversity (local species richness) for vascular plants at three different spatial grains, for forests and non-forests. We show that alpha diversity is consistently high across grains in some regions (for example, Andean-Amazonian foothills), but regional ‘scaling anomalies’ (deviations from the positive correlation) exist elsewhere, particularly in Eurasian temperate forests with disproportionally higher fine-grained richness and many African tropical forests with disproportionally higher coarse-grained richness. The influence of different climatic, topographic and biogeographical variables on alpha diversity also varies across grains. Our multi-grain maps return a nuanced understanding of vascular plant biodiversity patterns that complements classic maps of biodiversity hotspots and will improve predictions of global change effects on biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4683
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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