Burgess, Neil D. {ZMUC} NDBurgess at ZMUC.KU.DK
Fri Jun 28 16:19:00 CDT 1996

University of Copenhagen
Universitetsparken 15
DK-2100, Kobenhavn O
tel. +45 35 32 10 31, fax. + 45 35 32 10 10, e-mail. ndburgess at zmuc.ku.dk

To:       Those interested in the Biodiversity of Africa

From:          Neil Burgess, Carsten Rahbek and Jon Fjeldsaa
           Danish Centre for Tropical Biodiversity

Date:          28/6/96

Re:       Mapping African Biodiversity patterns

Dear all

Some months ago we put out a general request for assistance with a programme
we are undertaking here which aims to map species richness and endemism
patterns for African birds, mammals, snakes, amphibians, butterflies and
some plant groups, at a one degree scale.

This programme is being undertaken by the Danish Centre for Tropical
Biodiversity, and we are working in collaboration with Paul Williams and the
other Biodiversity Unit staff of the Natural History Museum (London), Tim
Crowe and Helen de Klerk of the FitzPatrick Institute in South Africa, the
World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UK), the The World Conservation Union
 -  Species Survival Commission (global), BirdLife International (UK), and a
large number of Museums, Research Institutions and individuals around the
world .  Potential collaboration is also being discussed with the World
Resources Institute (WRI), the World Bank (Environment Department), the
University of Rome (Italy), Antwerp (Netherlands), Helsinki (Finland) and
York (UK).

Since the last message we and our collaborators have made considerable
progress with this project and we have now made a large number of species
distriubutional maps which are starting to show species-richness and
species-endemism patterns of considerable interest for the whole of
Sub-Saharan Africa.  The current state of knowledge is summarised below:

Taxonomic      Numbers of species  Species with   Main problem
Group          in group            distribution maps   Taxa

Birds          1825           1825      None

Mammals   965            c.650          Shrews, smaller
                                   Bats & Rodents
Snakes         430            330       Non-poisonous
Amphibians     618            265       Taxonomic
                                   complexes &
                                   non tree-frogs
Butterflies    3600           500       -

Trees/other    ??             being asessed  Not known yet

There are however, gaps in our knowledge of the distribution of many
species, and for some genera we currently lack any distributional data which
can be mapped.

In the next few weeks it is out intention to send out more specific messages
outlining where the major gaps in our knowledge are, concentrated on each of
the major groups we are mapping.  We hope that there will be people
interested in this work and who would be able to share their knowledge with
us to allow the best possible data set on species distributions in Africa to
be compiled, with the aims of using this knowledge to understand species
distributional questions in Africa, particularly those relating to selecting
biodiversity conservation priorities in Africa at the continental scale, and
explaining the species richnes and endemism patterns which are found.

We hope that you find this message of interest and we look forward to any
comments at this stage, and to getting in contact with you again in the next
couple of weeks to outline the key problem species and genera, and the key
problem countries for obtaining distributional information.


Neil Burgess
Carsten Rahbek
Jon Fjeldsaa

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