Survey site selection for data-deficient arthropod taxa: From R.A.G.S. to richness
Conservation of any taxon requires sound information on its distribution and abundance. Modern area selection techniques are critically dependent especially on distribution data, yet for poorly surveyed taxa, such as invertebrates, these are often not available. In this paper we bring together gradsect biological survey methods and protected area selection algorithms to address this problem. We present an approach which places survey routes, based on the gradsect survey design method of spanning maximum environmental gradients, in areas poorly or completely unsurveyed/sampled. This 'record absence gradient selection' technique can be used to plan further efficient and effective field surveys for the collection of distribution data for inadequately sampled taxa. This method is not intended as a replacement for distribution modelling techniques, but rather as an addition to the toolbox used by conservation planners.