Akin On the Conservation of Force

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Nevertheless, Reunion Island has an angiosperm flora of approximately 500 indigenous species, 30 percent of which are endemic. Mauritius has approximately 870 indigenous species, about 35 percent of which are endemic. The only available explanation for these differences appears to be age of the flora. Mauritius is seven million years old, whereas Reunion is four million, so, until the decimating influence of human settlement intervened, the flora of Reunion was still diversifying relative to that of Mauritius (see chapter 2; also Fiedler [1986] for discussion of the "age and area hypothesis").

Ashton. 1978. Apomixis may be widespread among trees of the climax rain forest. Nature 271:440-41. , and N. Wirawan. 1988. Catastrophic drought and fire in Borneo tropical rain forest associated with the 1982-83 EI Nino southern oscillation event. In Tropical forests and the world atmosphere, ed. T. Prance, 75102. American Association for the Advancement of Science Selected Symposium 101. O. Wilson. 1967. The theory ofisland biogeography. : Princeton University Press. J. Grubb. 1986. Control of relative abundance of perennials in a chalk grassland in southern England.

Thus, although some reasonable temporal and spatial limits for categorizing taxa are suggested, it is assumed that factors such as generation time and ability to disperse will influence the categorization of any given taxon. It also is better to define temporal persistence in terms of generation time and spatial distribution in the context of gene flow, because these definitions allow a more meaningful comparison among taxa. However, rarely does sufficient data exist to allow such comparisons. Therefore, we suggest time in years and areas in hectares.

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