Utility of birds as indicators of the regional species richness of other taxa

Authors: RAMÍREZ, A.

Published: Volume 47(2), December 2000. Pages 221-226.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Utilidad de las aves como indicadores de la riqueza específica regional de otros taxones

Keywords: biodiversity indicators, complementarity, hotspots, rarity, northern Spain, species richness and reserve selection.


This paper evaluates three methods for detecting areas with a high conservation value (Hotspots, Rarity and Complementarity) to examine the utility of birds as predictors of the species richness of other taxa (butterflies, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals) at regional scales, using as data base the corresponding Atlas of the Basque Country (northern Spain). The four 10 Á—10 km UTM squares (5% of the studio area, Fig. 1) with the highest bird conservation values, according to each of these methods were selected, and the species richness accumulated for all taxa in these four squares was recorded. Species richness was also recorded for 1000 random samples of four squares, to test whether the four areas with highest ornithological interest had actually more species than randomly selected ones. Results varied among taxa and with the selection method employed. Complementarity of bird species was the best of the three selection strategies: 77.3% of all species of each taxa ware included on average in the four squares selected with this method, as compared to 73.7% with the Rarity criterion and 70.8% with the Hotspots criterion (Table 1). However, all methods performed significantly better than Monte Carlo simulations only for birds (Table 1). These results suggest that bird-based selection methods provide an effective framework for evaluating bird species richness, but they are not good indicators of the species richness of other taxa. The regional scale of this approach, the different ecological requirements of the various taxa examined and the non-overlapping distributions of the rarer and more extended species may be the main reasons that could explain this lack of association.

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