The efficiency of indicator groups for the conservation of amphibians in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

Research paper by Felipe Siqueira FS Campos, Joaquim J Trindade-Filho, Daniel D Brito, Gustavo A GA Llorente, Mirco M Solé

Indexed on: 02 Nov '14Published on: 02 Nov '14Published in: Ecology and Evolution


The adequate selection of indicator groups of biodiversity is an important aspect of the systematic conservation planning. However, these assessments differ in the spatial scales, in the methods used and in the groups considered to accomplish this task, which generally produces contradictory results. The quantification of the spatial congruence between species richness and complementarity among different taxonomic groups is a fundamental step to identify potential indicator groups. Using a constructive approach, the main purposes of this study were to evaluate the performance and efficiency of eight potential indicator groups representing amphibian diversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Data on the geographic range of amphibian species that occur in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest were overlapped to the full geographic extent of the biome, which was divided into a regular equal-area grid. Optimization routines based on the concept of complementarily were applied to verify the performance of each indicator group selected in relation to the representativeness of the amphibians in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest as a whole, which were solved by the algorithm "simulated annealing," through the use of the software MARXAN. Some indicator groups were substantially more effective than others in regard to the representation of the taxonomic groups assessed, which was confirmed by the high significance of the data (F = 312.76; P < 0.01). Leiuperidae was considered as the best indicator group among the families analyzed, as it showed a good performance, representing 71% of amphibian species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (i.e., 290 species), which may be associated with the diffuse geographic distribution of their species. In this sense, this study promotes understanding of how the diversity standards of amphibians can be informative for systematic conservation planning on a regional scale.