• Sahotra Sarkar

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Wallace’s belated revival

      Sahotra Sarkar

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    • Preface

      Sahotra Sarkar

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    • Operationalizing biodiversity for conservation planning

      Sahotra Sarkar Chris Margules

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      Biodiversity has acquired such a general meaning that people now find it difficult to pin down a precise sense for planning and policy-making aimed at biodiversity conservation. Because biodiversity is rooted in place, the task of conserving biodiversity should target places for conservation action; and because all places contain biodiversity, but not all places can be targeted for action, places have to be prioritized. What is needed for this is a measure of the extent to which biodiversity varies from place to place. We do not need a precise measure of biodiversity to prioritize places. Relative estimates of similarity or difference can be derived using partial measures, or what have come to be called biodiversity surrogates. Biodiversity surrogates are supposed to stand in for general biodiversity in planning applications. We distinguish between true surrogates, those that might truly stand in for general biodiversity, and estimator surrogates, which have true surrogates as their target variable. For example, species richness has traditionally been the estimator surrogate for the true surrogate, species diversity. But species richness does not capture the differences in composition between places; the essence of biodiversity. Another measure, called complementarity, explicitly captures the differences between places as we iterate the process of place prioritization, starting with an initial place. The relative concept of biodiversity built into the definition of complementarity has the level of precision needed to undertake conservation planning.

    • Place prioritization for biodiversity content

      Sahotra Sarkar Anshu Aggarwal Justin Garson Chris R Margules Juliane Zeidler

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      The prioritization of places on the basis of biodiversity content is part of any systematic biodiversity conservation planning process. The place prioritization procedure implemented in the ResNet software package is described. This procedure is primarily based on the principles of rarity and complementarity. Application of the procedure is demonstrated with two analyses, one data set consisting of the distributions of termite genera in Namibia, and the other consisting of the distributions of bird species in the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands. The attributes that data sets should have for the effective and reliable application of such procedures are discussed. The procedure used here is compared to some others that are also currently in use.

    • Birds as surrogates for biodiversity: An analysis of a data set from southern Québec

      Justin Garson Anshu Aggarwal Sahotra Sarkar

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      Surrogacy analysis consists of determining a set of biotic or environmental parameters which can be rapidly assessed in the field and reliably used to prioritize places for biodiversity conservation. Whether adequate surrogate sets exist remains an open and relatively unexplored question though its solution is central to the aims of conservation biology. This paper analyses the surrogacy problem by prioritizing places using surrogate lists and comparing these results with those obtained by using more comprehensive species lists. More specifically, it explores (i) the possibility of using bird distributions, which are often easily available, as surrogates for species at risk (endangered and threatened species), which are presumed to be an important component of biodiversity; and (ii) the methodological question of how spatial scale influences surrogate success. The data set analysed, from southern Québec, is one of the most complete biotic data sets available at the regional scale. Contrary to some previous analyses, the results obtained suggest that the surrogacy problem is potentially solvable.

    • The principle of complementarity in the design of reserve networks to conserve biodiversity: A preliminary history

      James Justus Sahotra Sarkar

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      Explicit, quantitative procedures for identifying biodiversity priority areas are replacing the often ad hoc procedures used in the past to design networks of reserves to conserve biodiversity. This change facilitates more informed choices by policy makers, and thereby makes possible greater satisfaction of conservation goals with increased efficiency. A key feature of these procedures is the use of the principle of complementarity, which ensures that areas chosen for inclusion in a reserve network complement those already selected. This paper sketches the historical development of the principle of complementarity and its applications in practical policy decisions. In the first section a brief account is given of the circumstances out of which concerns for more explicit systematic methods for the assessment of the conservation value of different areas arose. The second section details the emergence of the principle of complementarity in four independent contexts. The third section consists of case studies of the use of the principle of complementarity to make practical policy decisions in Australasia, Africa, and America. In the last section, an assessment is made of the extent to which the principle of complementarity transformed the practice of conservation biology by introducing new standards of rigor and explicitness.

    • In memoriam: Ernst Mayr (1904–2005)

      Sahotra Sarkar

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