Measuring Biodiversity Value for Conservation
Practical approaches to measuring biodiversity are reviewed in relation to the present debate on systematic approaches to conservation, to fulfil the goal of representativeness: to identify and include the broadest possible sample of components that make up the biota of a given region. Rather than adapting earlier measures that had been developed for other purposes, the most recent measures result from a fresh look at what exactly is of value to conservationists. Although debate will continue as to where precisely these values lie, more of the discussion has been devoted to ways of estimating values in the absence of ideal information. We discuss the current principles by assuming that the currency of biodiversity is characters, that models of character distribution among organisms are required for comparisons of character diversity, and that character diversity measures can be calculated using taxonomic and environmental surrogates.