Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 1585–1597 | Cite as

Towards the use of ecological heterogeneity to design reserve networks: a case study from Dadia National Park, Greece

  • Vassiliki KatiEmail author
  • Kostas Poirazidis
  • Marc Dufrêne
  • John M. Halley
  • Giorgos Korakis
  • Stefan Schindler
  • Panayotis Dimopoulos
Original Paper


In this paper, we present a novel approach for using ecological heterogeneity in reserve design. We measured five ecological heterogeneity indices (EHI) and we used a database of six biological groups (woody plants, orchids, orthopterans, aquatic and terrestrial herpetofauna and passerine birds) across 30 sites in a Mediterranean reserve (Greece). We found that all the five EHI were significantly related to the overall species richness and to the species richness of woody plants and birds. Two indices, measuring vertical vegetation complexity (1/D) and horizontal heterogeneity of landcover types (SIDI) in terms of Simpson’s index, predicted well overall species richness and had significantly higher values inside the complementary reserve networks designed after five of the six biological groups. We compared five methods of forming reserve networks. The method of ecological heterogeneity (selecting those sites with the greatest 1/D and then SIDI) was less efficient (non-significantly) than the species-based methods (scoring and complementary networks) but significantly more efficient than the random method (randomly selected network). We also found that the method of complementary ecological heterogeneity (selecting those sites where each EHI had its maximum value) was not that efficient, as it did not differ significantly from the random method. These results underline the potential of the ecological heterogeneity method as an alternative tool in reserve design.


Biodiversity surrogates Complementarity Ecological heterogeneity Ecological networks Indicator Landscape metrics Mediterranean Reserve design Vegetation complexity Vertical structure 



The research of K.P. was financed by the Greek project “PYTHAGORAS II: KE 1329-1”. We are grateful to L. Borda de Agua, J. Prendergast, K. Van Houtan and two anonymous referees for helpful comments that greatly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10531_2010_9788_MOESM1_ESM.doc (458 kb)
(DOC 458 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vassiliki Kati
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kostas Poirazidis
    • 2
  • Marc Dufrêne
    • 3
  • John M. Halley
    • 4
  • Giorgos Korakis
    • 5
  • Stefan Schindler
    • 6
  • Panayotis Dimopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Natural Resources ManagementUniversity of IoanninaAgrinioGreece
  2. 2.World Wide Fund Greece, Dadia ProjectSoufliGreece
  3. 3.Centre de Recherche de la Nature, des Forêts et du Bois, Ministère de la Région WallonneGemblouxBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Biological Applications and TechnologiesUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  5. 5.Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural ResourcesDemocritus University of ThraceOrestiadaGreece
  6. 6.Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation and Landscape EcologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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