Monitoring change in biodiversity through composite indices

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262 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The need to monitor trends in biodiversity raises many technical issues. What are the features of a good biodiversity index? How should trends in abundance of individual species be estimated? How should composite indices, possibly spanning very diverse taxa, be formed? At what spatial scale should composite indices be applied? How might change-points-points at which the underlying trend changes-be identified? We address some of the technical issues underlying composite indices, including survey design, weighting of the constituent indices, identification of change-points and estimation of spatially varying time trends. We suggest some criteria that biodiversity measures for use in monitoring surveys should satisfy, and we discuss the problems of implementing rigorous methods. We illustrate the properties of different composite indices using UK farmland bird data. We conclude that no single index can capture all aspects of biodiversity change, but that a modified Shannon index and the geometric mean of relative abundance have useful properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-254
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences
Volume360
Issue number1454
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2005

Keywords

  • biodiversity monitoring
  • indices of trend
  • Shannon index
  • Simpson's index
  • AMPHIBIAN POPULATION DECLINES
  • BREEDING BIRD SURVEY
  • QUANTIFYING BIODIVERSITY
  • BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
  • FARMLAND BIRDS
  • COUNT DATA
  • COMMUNITIES
  • ECOLOGY
  • MODELS
  • TRENDS

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