, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 657-669

Landscape patch shape complexity as an effective measure for plant species richness in rural landscapes

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The application of landscape patch shape complexity as a predictor ofvascularplant and bryophyte species richness is analysed. Several common complexityindices (shape index, fractal dimension, comparison to the area of the minimumbounding rectangle) are tested for their predictive power for plant speciesrichness. One new robust measure for shape complexity is presented whichovercomes some disadvantages of common complexity measures applied to highresolution analysis of agricultural landscapes based on aerial photographs. Thenew index is based on the number of shape characterising points along apolygon’s boundary. This new measure shows promising predictive capabilitiesforspecies richness of vascular plants and bryophytes (correlation coefficient:0.85 for vascular plants, 0.74 for bryophytes).

This revised version was published online in May 2005 with corrections to the Cover Date.