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      Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolation

      Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
      The Royal Society

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          Abstract

          Both the magnitude and the urgency of the task of assessing global biodiversity require that we make the most of what we know through the use of estimation and extrapolation. Likewise, future biodiversity inventories need to be designed around the use of effective sampling and estimation procedures, especially for 'hyperdiverse' groups of terrestrial organisms, such as arthropods, nematodes, fungi, and microorganisms. The challenge of estimating patterns of species richness from samples can be separated into (i) the problem of estimating local species richness, and (ii) the problem of estimating the distinctness, or complementarity, of species assemblages. These concepts apply on a wide range of spatial, temporal, and functional scales. Local richness can be estimated by extrapolating species accumulation curves, fitting parametric distributions of relative abundance, or using non-parametric techniques based on the distribution of individuals among species or of species among samples. We present several of these methods and examine their effectiveness for an example data set. We present a simple measure of complementarity, with some biogeographic examples, and outline the difficult problem of estimating complementarity from samples. Finally, we discuss the importance of using 'reference' sites (or sub-sites) to assess the true richness and composition of species assemblages, to measure ecologically significant ratios between unrelated taxa, to measure taxon/sub-taxon (hierarchical) ratios, and to 'calibrate' standardized sampling methods. This information can then be applied to the rapid, approximate assessment of species richness and faunal or floral composition at 'comparative' sites.

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          Most cited references28

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          The Commonness, And Rarity, of Species

          F. Preston (1948)
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            How many species are there on Earth?

            R M May (1988)
            This article surveys current answers to the factual question posed in the title and reviews the kinds of information that are needed to make these answers more precise. Various factors affecting diversity are also reviewed. These include the structure of food webs, the relative abundance of species, the number of species and of individuals in different categories of body size, along with other determinants of the commonness and rarity of organisms.
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              Beyond opportunism: Key principles for systematic reserve selection.

              The intention and practice of conservation reserve selection are different. A major reason for systems of reserves is to sustain biological diversity. This involves protecting examples of as many natural features, e.g. species, communities or environments, as possible. In reality, however, new reserves have rarely been dedicated for their representation of features. Furthermore, the opportunism that has characterized the development of reserve systems can actually jeopardize the representation of all features in reserves through the inefficient allocation of limited resources. More systematic approaches are essential if reserves are to play their role in protecting biodiversity. Some basic principles for conservation planning are emerging from recent systematic procedures for reserve selection. These principles will help to link intention and practice. Copyright © 1993. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
                Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8436
                1471-2970
                January 1997
                July 29 1994
                January 1997
                July 29 1994
                : 345
                : 1311
                : 101-118
                Article
                10.1098/rstb.1994.0091
                7972351
                cb2698e1-b351-479e-a287-afd98b103c89
                © 1994

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