Species richness and variety of life in Arizona’s ponderosa pine forest type

David R. Patton, Richard W. Hofstetter, John D. Bailey, Mary Ann Benoit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Species richness (SR) is a tool that managers can use to include diversity in planning and decision-making and is a convenient and useful way to characterize the first level of biological diversity. A richness list derived from existing inventories enhances a manager’s understanding of the complexity of the plant and animal communities they manage. Without a list of species, resource management decisions may have negative or unknown effects on all species occupying a forest type. Without abundance data, a common quantitative index for species diversity cannot be determined. However, SR data can include life history information from published literature to enhance the SR value. This report provides an example of how inventory information can characterize the complexity of biological diversity in the ponderosa pine forest type in Arizona. The SR process broadly categorizes the number of plant and animal life forms to arrive at a composite species richness value. Common sense dictates that plants and animals exist in a biotic community because that community has sufficient resources to sustain life. A mixture of forest at tributes maintained in time and space fundamentally supports a certain level of diversity as indicated by a richness value. As a management guideline, it is a reasonable assumption that the variety among plant communities and structures increases the potential for maintaining diverse kinds of animal habitats and resultant populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUSDA Forest Service - General Technical Report RMRS-GTR
Issue numberGRT-332
StatePublished - 2014


  • Animals
  • Biological diversity
  • Plants
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Species richness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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