Ranking the Azorean Natural Forest Reserves for Conservation Using their Endemic Arthropods
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- Borges, P., Serrano, A. & Quartau, J. Journal of Insect Conservation (2000) 4: 129. doi:10.1023/A:1009629012205
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Endemic arthropods were used to evaluate the conservation value of the 16 Natural Forest Reserves (NFRs) of the Azores (Macaronesia). For each of the 280 known Azorean endemic species of arthropods, a rarity index was calculated, using distribution and abundance data obtained from the literature. In addition, several scoring indices were used to rank the 16 NFRs. Frequency distributions of the rarity index indicated that there was a tendency for a greater proportion of the commonest species being represented in the NFRs in contrast with a lower representation of the rarest species. About 60% of the endemic arthropod species that were recorded from the NFRs are ‘single NFR endemics’, that is, are known from only one of the 16 NFRs. Species richness was considered to be a very good surrogate measure of the conservation value of the 16 NFRs under study. The fact that the six highest ranked NFRs (using a composite multi-criteria index) are located in different islands has some important conservation management implications; to preserve a large proportion of the Azorean arthropod biodiversity there is a need to protect sites in all islands. If the five highest ranked NFRs are correctly managed in terms of conservation, then at least 80% of the endemic arthropods known from the NFRs could be protected. Most of the tested taxa (Acari-Oribatei; Lepidoptera; Diptera; Coleoptera) are good surrogates of the overall total set of species present in the 16 NFRs when using a species richness index.