Diversity Indices as 'Magic' Tools in Landscape Planning: A Cautionary Note on their Uncritical Use

Auteur(s) et Affiliation(s)

Battisti, Corrado
Nature Conservation Office, Environment Service, Rome, Italy

Description :
Diversity indices are often considered by landscape planners as easy to calculate and informative for planning procedures. The main objective of many landscape planners using such indices is 'to obtain the magic number'. The misinterpretation of the real significance of diversity values that this indicates is alarming because it could induce conceptual traps and the promotion of poor strategies for ecosystem and landscape management with serious ecological, economic, and political implications. This paper highlights the need to plan reliable diversity analysis based on a good understanding of the relevant theory. The quantitative values of indices obtained should be used as the basis for planning only after a critical and qualitative interpretation of such indices by professional ecologists and considering local features, history, constraints and the human disturbances affecting the ecological units studied. The aim of this short communication is to promote a critical use of biodiversity indices while furnishing some further points of discussion on this topic.

Type de document :
Article de périodique

Source :
Landscape research (Online), issn : 1469-9710, 2011, vol. 36, n°. 1, p. 111-117, nombre de pages : 7

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Pays édition : Royaume-Uni, Abingdon, Taylor and Francis

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