Hortal, J. & Lobo, J. M. (2005) An ED-based protocol for the optimal sampling of biodiversity. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14, 2913-2947. doi:10.1007/s10531-004-0224-z

While conservation planning requires good biodiversity data, our knowledge of most living groups is scarce and patchy even in well-sampled regions. Therefore, we need methodologies for rapid assessments for particular groups and regions. Maps of any biodiversity surrogate can be interpolated from even a few well-known sites, but such places are usually lacking. We therefore propose a protocol for designing field surveys to obtain good coverage of pattern variations of biodiversity in a given region. To represent biodiversity patterns comprehensively, we use a rule step site-allocation procedure, partially based on Faith and Walker’s ED criterion that takes environmental and spatial variation into account, together with other criteria such as survey costs. A preliminary assessment of the adequacy of this site sampling strategy is made. Then a set of complementary sites is selected for further sampling. Using the ED criterion, during the stepwise process a p-median analysis is applied both to an environmental distance matrix and to a spatial distance matrix, to maximize the amount of variation covered by our survey planning. This rule-set allocation procedure is integrated into a continuous sampling design protocol directed to ensure we can sample all biodiversity of a region. This protocol requires the gathering of both biological and environmental information, an assessment of previously available information, the choice of sampling methods and dates, and a continuous assessment of the success of the survey being carried out. An example of the application of this protocol to the survey design of dung beetle (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea) diversity in the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) is included.