Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

The commonness of rarity: Global and future distribution of rarity across land plants

Brian Enquist 1, 2 Xiao Feng 3, 4 Brad Boyle 2 Brian Maitner 2 Erica Newman 2 Peter Møller Jørgensen 5 Patrick Roehrdanz 6 Barbara Thiers 7 Joseph Burger 4 Richard Corlett 8 Thomas Couvreur 9 Gilles Dauby 10 John Donoghue 11 Wendy Foden 12 Jon Lovett 13, 14 Pablo Marquet 15 Cory Merow 16 Guy Midgley 17 Naia Morueta-Holme 18 Danilo Neves 19 Ary Oliveira-Filho 19 Nathan Kraft 20 Daniel Park 21 Robert Peet 22 Michiel Pillet 2 Josep Serra-Diaz 23 Brody Sandel 24 Mark Schildhauer 25 Irena Šímová 26, 27 Cyrille Violle 28 Jan Wieringa 29 Susan Wiser 30 Lee Hannah 6 Jens-Christian Svenning 31 Brian Mcgill 32
Abstract : A key feature of life’s diversity is that some species are common but many more are rare. Nonetheless, at global scales, we do not know what fraction of biodiversity consists of rare species. Here, we present the largest compilation of global plant diversity to quantify the fraction of Earth’s plant biodiversity that are rare. A large fraction, ~36.5% of Earth’s ~435,000 plant species, are exceedingly rare. Sampling biases and prominent models, such as neutral theory and the k-niche model, cannot account for the observed prevalence of rarity. Our results indicate that (i) climatically more stable regions have harbored rare species and hence a large fraction of Earth’s plant species via reduced extinction risk but that (ii) climate change and human land use are now disproportionately impacting rare species. Estimates of global species abundance distributions have important implications for risk assessments and conservation planning in this era of rapid global change.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Cyrille Violle <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 31, 2021 - 12:03:52 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 5, 2021 - 10:10:07 AM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International License



Brian Enquist, Xiao Feng, Brad Boyle, Brian Maitner, Erica Newman, et al.. The commonness of rarity: Global and future distribution of rarity across land plants. Science Advances , American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2019, 5 (11), pp.eaaz0414. ⟨10.1126/sciadv.aaz0414⟩. ⟨hal-02411666⟩



Record views


Files downloads