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© 2010 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Less well studied, however, are the factors that shape elevational diversity gradients. Because many climatic factors vary systematically along elevational gradients, as they might along latitudinal gradients, elevational diversity gradients were thought to be miniature versions of latitudinal gradients (Körner, 2000). For example, Brown (1988) wrote, “Just as change of physical conditions with altitude resembles in many respects the variation with latitude, so the decreasing diversity of most organisms with increasing elevation mirrors in most respects the latitudinal gradient of species richness.” Stevens (1992) noted that, “Biologists have long recognized that elevational and latitudinal species-richness gradients mirror each other.” Although the most common relationship between latitude and richness is a decline in diversity with increasing latitude, this is not the most common pattern along elevational gradients. Rahbek’s (1995, 2005) thorough reviews of published studies on elevational gradients showed that mid-elevation peaks in diversity are the norm. This suggests that elevational gradients do not mirror latitudinal gradients.

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Data Mining for Global Trends in Mountain Biodiversity

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