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Selecting Herb-Rich Forest Networks to Protect Different Measures of Biodiversity

Kaija M. Virolainen, Kati Nättinen, Jukka Suhonen and Markku Kuitunen
Ecological Applications
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 411-420
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/3060898
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3060898
Page Count: 10
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Selecting Herb-Rich Forest Networks to Protect Different Measures of Biodiversity
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Abstract

Data on vascular plants of herb-rich forests in Finland were used to compare the efficiency of reserve selection methods in representing three measures of biodiversity: species richness, phylogenetic diversity, and restricted-range diversity. Comparisons of reserve selection methods were carried out both with and without consideration of the existing reserve system. Our results showed that the success of a reserve network of forests in representing different measures of biodiversity depends on the selection procedure, selection criteria, and data set used. Ad hoc selection was the worst option. A scoring procedure was generally more efficient than maximum random selection. Heuristic methods also appeared to be efficient. Each biodiversity measure can be used as a criterion for a selection algorithm and as a measure of efficiency of protection at the network level. The results indicate that different measures of biodiversity should be taken into account. For instance, phylogenetic diversity of a network was maximized by a heuristic method using phylogenetic diversity as the selection criterion. However, a heuristic method based on restricted-range diversity was more efficient than that based on species richness in representing high species richness in a forest network. Our results showed also that complementing the existing reserves is less efficient than selection starting with a blank slate. That is, the total number of sites required to protect a given level of biodiversity is higher when complementing the existing network, because some previously protected sites contribute relatively little diversity to the network. Data on species of a historic network should be available when new sites are selected for complementing the historic network.

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