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. 2017 Apr 25;12(4):e0175931.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175931. eCollection 2017.

Distribution of Mammal Functional Diversity in the Neotropical Realm: Influence of Land-Use and Extinction Risk

Free PMC article

Distribution of Mammal Functional Diversity in the Neotropical Realm: Influence of Land-Use and Extinction Risk

José F González-Maya et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Functional diversity represents a measure of diversity that incorporates the role of species in an ecosystem, and therefore its dynamics and resilience. Assessing its drivers and spatial variation represents an important step forward in our understanding of functional ecosystem dynamics and it is also necessary to achieve a comprehensive conservation planning. In this paper, we assessed mammal functional diversity for the 218 ecoregions within the Neotropical realm. We evaluated the overall influence and spatial variation of species richness, ecoregion extent, intervention and species at risk on functional diversity. Using ordinary least squares and geographically weighted regression modeling approaches, we found that intervened areas and threatened and non-threatened species are the most influential overall drivers of functional diversity. However, we also detected that these variables do not operate equally across scales. Our local analyses indicated both that the variation explained and local coefficients vary spatially depending on the ecoregion and major habitat type. As estimates of functional diversity are based on current distribution of all mammals, negative influence of intervened areas and positive influence of non-threatened species may reflect a potential degradation of functional processes for some ecosystems. Most generally, the negative influence of intervention together with the influence of threatened species indicates that some areas are currently more susceptible to functional diversity loss. Our results help to pinpoint key areas requiring urgent conservation action to reduce natural land-cover loss and areas where threatened species play influential roles on ecosystem functioning.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1
Ecoregions of the Neotropical realm indicating (A) major habitat types (biomes) distribution, (B) species richness and (C) functional diversity and (D) Cluster analyses for ecoregions classified according to major habitat type (i.e. biome) based on species richness and functional diversity values. Euclidian squared distance and average linking was the best linking method according to cophenetic correlation (0.668).
Fig 2
Fig 2
Local values of (A) variation explained by selected variables–R2 and coefficients for (B) intervened land use, (C) threatened and (D) non-threatened species influencing mammal functional diversity for each ecoregion of the Neotropical realm based on a geographically weighted regression. Higher R2 values indicate higher functional diversity variation explained by the selected variables; higher coefficient value indicates higher positive influence of each variable while negative values indicate negative influence on functional diversity values.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Priority ecoregions for mammal functional diversity change according to priority ecoregions were mammal functional diversity is more significantly influenced by threatened species therefore more susceptible to species loss for the Neotropical realm.

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Grant support

JFG-M acknowledges the scholarship and financial support provided by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT), and UNAM (scholarship 255983).