Vol. 29 Núm. 2 (2013)
Artículos originales

A strategy for measuring biodiversity

Gonzalo Halffter
Instituto de Ecología, A.C.
Matthias Rös
Instituto de Ecología, A.C.

Publicado 31-08-2013

Palabras clave

  • biodiversity measures,
  • alpha diversity,
  • beta diversity,
  • gamma diversity

Cómo citar

Halffter, G., & Rös, M. (2013). A strategy for measuring biodiversity. ACTA ZOOLÓGICA MEXICANA (N.S.), 29(2), 400–411. https://doi.org/10.21829/azm.2013.2921117


Several recent studies insist that multiplying the indices used to measure biological diversity (or rather, characteristics, related to it) makes no contribution to comparative studies, or to our understanding of the importance and characteristics of the changes caused by anthropic disturbance. In this study we propose a program that we call strategy, in order to measure biodiversity for the purpose of comparison. Although we bring together ideas that have been published (some, in very recent dates), the proposal as a whole, that is as a strategy, is new. We discuss in detail and substantiate using the literature, each of the aspects and recommendations of the strategy: 1) The use of the landscape as the spatio-temporal unit; 2) The application of the criterion of continuous landscapes, instead of the binary vision of the landscape divided into patches within a matrix; 3) The use of windows for sampling and
analyzing the landscape, particularly when dealing with variegated landscapes, but also for other types of landscape; 4) The use of indicator groups as a means of measuring species richness and individual frequency, in spite of the limitations we discuss; 5) The expression of the results in terms of true diversities based on the concepts introduced by Lou Jost. We conclude with some suggestions (a sample) about the kind of questions for which the strategy is useful. The cases presented imply comparisons and reflect our interest in obtaining a real, testable measure of how human actions affect biological diversity under different ecological conditions.


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