Determine adequate trapping effort and species richness using species accumulation curves for environmental impact assessments

G.G. Thompson, S.A. Thompson, Philip Withers, J.L. Fraser

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    Environmental impact assessments (EIA) require that the proponent indicates the potential impact that a development will have on the biodiversity of the area. As part of this assessment it is normal practice to inventory the vertebrate species in the area. We show here how species accumulation curves can be used as a tool by environmental consultants to indicate the adequacy of their trapping effort and predict species richness for a disturbance site. The shape of a species accumulation curve is influenced by the number of species in an assemblage and the proportional number of singletons (rarely caught species) in the survey sample. We provide guidelines for the number of individuals that need to be caught in a trapping program to achieve 80% and 90% of the species in a habitat, and we indicate how this number can be adjusted to accommodate variations in relative species abundance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)570-580
    JournalAustral Ecology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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