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Geographic range and conservation of the Cipo Canastero Asthenes luizae, an endemic furnariid of Brazilian sky islands



Cipo Canastero Asthenes luizae is a relict ovenbird restricted to rocky outcrops at high elevations within the campo rupestre vegetation of the Espinhaço Range in the state of Minas Gerais, south-eastern Brazil. This poorly known species is considered ‘Near Threatened’, but recent studies have suggested that it should be listed under a higher category of threat. To contribute to the knowledge of this species and its conservation assessment and related planning, we compiled all literature records of the species distribution (n = 16 locations), collected new data on its occurrence (n = 72 locations), and calculated its geographic range using four different approaches. First, we defined the sky islands where the species occurs (nine units) using the lowest elevation value recorded (1,100 m asl) as a cut-off. Second, we performed species distribution modelling (SDM) across the sky islands and identified an area of 2,225.21 km2. Third, we measured the species’ extent of occurrence (EOO = 24,555.85 km2) and used SDM to estimate its upper limit (EOOup = 30,697.58 km2). Fourth, we measured the area of occupancy (AOO = 228 km2) and used SDM to estimate its upper limit (AOOup = 1,827.39 km2). We analysed the Cipo Canastero sky islands in terms of landscape metrics including size, isolation, protected area coverage, shape index, core area index, and proportion covered by SDM. We observed a very fragmented distribution, especially in the North sector of the species distribution, composed of small and isolated populations (separated by up to 112 km); the South sector is the core of its distribution and is composed of larger, more connected patches with differences in shape complexity that are not strongly influenced by an edge effect. The range sizes calculated, along with other reported information regarding population and habitat trends, justifies the inclusion of the species in at least the ‘Vulnerable’ category.


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Geographic range and conservation of the Cipo Canastero Asthenes luizae, an endemic furnariid of Brazilian sky islands



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