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.
Ecological Applications – Ecological Society of America
Published: Apr 1, 2001
Keywords: ad hoc selection ; boreal herb-rich forests ; complementarity ; Finland ; heuristic algorithm ; nature conservation ; phylogenetic diversity ; reserve network ; reserve selection ; restricted-range diversity ; species richness
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