Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 1029–1048 | Cite as

Red List Index application for vascular flora along an altitudinal gradient

  • Antonio J. Mendoza-FernándezEmail author
  • Francisco J. Pérez-García
  • Fabián Martínez-Hernández
  • Esteban Salmerón-Sánchez
  • Agustín Lahora
  • María E. Merlo
  • Juan F. Mota
Original Paper


High mountain habitats are particularly susceptible to climate changes, which have been classified as the key drivers of biodiversity extinction. Plant species have proved to be a suitable surrogate for estimating the state of an area’s total biodiversity, and the Red List Index (RLI) is one of the key global Convention on Biological Diversity Indicators. The main aim of this study was to analyse the changes in the categories of threatened flora in a specific region along an altitudinal gradient, and to determine possible relationships between threat categories, altitudinal ranges and global change effects, through RLI application. The study of the trends of threatened flora in Andalusia reveals a general decline in the species’ conservation status. Altitudinal ranges above 3000 m present greater deterioration of the threat categories. Thus, the Mediterranean high-mountain flora is confirmed as being highly sensitive to habitat alterations and as suffering the most severe threats. However, the study did not highlight the global change threat factor from the studied Red Lists. Therefore, the use of the RLI in the study of the conservation status of the vascular flora along an altitudinal gradient could represent a novel and remarkable advance as an indicator of the global change threat factor on a detailed scale.


Biodiversity Conservation status Elevation range Global change Mediterranean flora Threat factor 



This study has been made possible through the projects ‘Assessment, Monitoring and Applied Scientific Research for Ecological Restoration of Gypsum Mining Concessions (Majadas Viejas and Marylen) and Spreading of Results (ECORESGYP)’ sponsored by the company EXPLOTACIONES RÍO DE AGUAS S.L. (TORRALBA GROUP) and ‘Integrated study of coastal sands vegetation (AREVEG)’ sponsored by CEI·MAR. The authors, AJMF, and ESS were sponsored by the University of Almeria through the Program Plan Propio de Investigación y Transferencia, with a postdoctoral grant (Contrato Puente 2015) and a financial assistance for a stay abroad (Estancias en otros Centros de Investigación 2016). The authors would like to thank Beatrice Antolin and Andrew Taylor for reviewing the English translation of the text and the three anonymous reviewers for their interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio J. Mendoza-Fernández
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco J. Pérez-García
    • 1
  • Fabián Martínez-Hernández
    • 1
  • Esteban Salmerón-Sánchez
    • 1
  • Agustín Lahora
    • 1
  • María E. Merlo
    • 1
  • Juan F. Mota
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology and Geology Department, CEI·MAR, CECOUALUniversity of AlmeriaAlmeríaSpain

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