Effectiveness of environmental surrogates for the selection of conservation area networks

ebec and Queensland, we applied four methods to assess the extent to which environmental surrogates can represent biodiversity components: (1) surrogacy graphs; (2) marginal representation plots; (3) Hamming distance function; and (4) Syrjala statistical test for spatial congruence. For Qu´ebec we used 719 faunal and floral species as biodiversity components, and for Queensland we used 2348 plant species. We used four climatic parameter types (annual mean temperature, minimum temperature during the coldest quarter, maximum temperature during the hottest quarter, and annual precipitation), along with slope, elevation, aspect, and soil types, as environmental surrogates. To study the effect of scale, we analyzed the data at seven spatial scales ranging from 0.01◦ to 0.10◦ longitude and latitude. At targeted representations of 10% for environmental surrogates and biodiversity components, all four methods indicated that using a full set of environmental surrogates systematically provided better results than selecting areas at random, usually ensuring that ≥90% of the biodiversity components achieved the 10%.
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