Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 1253–1270 | Cite as

Tree Diversity in Western Kenya: Using Profiles to Characterise Richness and Evenness

  • R. Kindt
  • P. Van Damme
  • A. J. Simons


Species diversity is a function of the number of species and the evenness in the abundance of the component species. We calculated diversity and evenness profiles, which allowed comparing the diversity and evenness of communities. We applied the methodology to investigate differences in diversity among the main functions of trees on western Kenyan farms. Many use-groups (all trees and species that provide a specific use) could not be ranked in diversity or evenness. No use-group had perfectly even distributions. Evenness could especially be enhanced for construction materials, fruit, ornamental, firewood, timber and medicine, which included some of the most species-rich groups of the investigated landscape. When considering only the evenness in the distribution of the dominant species, timber, medicine, fruit and beverage ranked lowest (> 60% of trees belonged to the dominant species of these groups). These are also use-groups that are mainly grown by farmers to provide cash through sales. Since not all communities can be ranked in diversity, studies that attempt to order communities in diversity should not base the ordering on a single index, or even a combination of several indices, but use techniques developed for diversity ordering such as the Rényi diversity profile. The rarefaction of diversity profiles described in this article could be used in studies that compare results from surveys with different sample sizes.


Accumulation Agroforestry Diversification Domestication Evenness Rarefaction Rényi diversity profile Richness 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICRAFNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and EthnobotanyGhent UniversityGentBelgium

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