Alves, C., Vieira, C., Sérgio, C., Garcia, C., Stow, S. & Hespanhol, H. (2016) Selecting important areas for bryophyte conservation: is the higher taxa approach an effective method?Journal for Nature Conservation, 29, 105-113. DOI:10.1016/j.jnc.2015.12.004 (IF2015 2,220; Q2 Biodiversity Conservation)
Surrogates have been used as a support for conservation practices, since they are easier to assess and less time consuming than collecting species-level data. One of these surrogates is the “higher taxa approach”, i.e., the use of data with coarser taxonomic resolution than the species level, such as genus and family levels, as a surrogate for total species richness.
The aim of this work was to test if higher taxa (Genera) could be used in the selection of important areas for bryophyte conservation, using three different methodological approaches: Scoring, Important Plant Areas and Complementarity-based approach. We tested these approaches in a protected area, the Peneda-Gerês National Park, one of the best studied areas in Portugal for bryophytes and one of the first areas in the country with bryophyte collections. The knowledge of bryophyte distribution in this National Park has been increasing and distribution maps and detailed species lists were recently published, so we thought it would be a good area to test if the higher taxa approach is an effective method for selecting important areas for bryophyte conservation.
Our results showed that localities were ranked in a similar way using species or genera data, regardless of the methodology used. The Complementarity-based approach in comparison with other methodologies protected a higher percentage of bryophyte species.
In general, the three approaches identified the same areas as important areas for bryophyte conservation. Therefore, for the studied area and independently of the approach used, genera could be used in the selection of important areas for bryophyte conservation.