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Global patterns of vascular plant alpha diversity

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

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Francesco Maria Sabatini

Borja Jiménez-Alfaro

Ute Jandt

Milan Chytrý

Michael Kessler

Jonathan Lenoir

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. Peet

Petr 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


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.


Sabatini, F. M., Jiménez-Alfaro, B., Jandt, U., Chytrý, M., Field, R., Kessler, M., …Bruelheide, H. (2022). Global patterns of vascular plant alpha diversity. Nature Communications, 13(1), Article 4683.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2022
Publication Date Sep 1, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 5, 2022
Journal Nature Communications
Electronic ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 1
Article Number 4683
Keywords General Physics and Astronomy; General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Chemistry; Multidisciplinary
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 14 April 2021; Accepted: 13 July 2022; First Online: 1 September 2022; : The authors declare no competing interests.


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