, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 351-359
Date: 24 Jul 2010

A frequency distribution approach to hotspot identification

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We present a new global method for the identification of hotspots in conservation and ecology. The method is based on the identification of spatial structure properties through cumulative relative frequency distributions curves, and is tested with two case studies, the identification of fish density hotspots and terrestrial vertebrate species diversity hotspots. Results from the frequency distribution method are compared with those from standard techniques among local, partially local and global methods. Our approach offers the main advantage to be independent from the selection of any threshold, neighborhood, or other parameter that affect most of the currently available methods for hotspot analysis. The two case studies show how such elements of arbitrariness of the traditional methods influence both size and location of the identified hotspots, and how this new global method can be used for a more objective selection of hotspots.