The effect of spatial scale on evenness
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
1999 IAVS - the International Association of Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 10, Issue 4, pages 463–468, August 1999
How to Cite
Wilson, J. B., Steel, J. B., King, W. McG. and Gitay, H. (1999), The effect of spatial scale on evenness. Journal of Vegetation Science, 10: 463–468. doi: 10.2307/3237181
- Issue published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 24 FEB 2009
- Received 16 February 1998; Revision received 16 December 1998; Accepted 16 December 1998.
- Abundance distribution;
- Dune slack;
- Semi-arid grassland;
- Spatial grain;
- Spatial scale
Abstract. The effect of spatial scale on species evenness has not previously been investigated. As the area of each sample of vegetation (i.e. the spatial grain) increases, evenness could in theory increase, decrease, or stay the same, though the simplest model predicts an increase. We use biomass data from four dune slack sites and two semi-arid grasslands, sampled to allow calculation of evenness at a range of spatial grains. In all six sites, evenness decreases as grain size increases, almost monotonically. It is hypothesized that such a pattern is a result of a general feature of plant species abundance distributions and of vegetation response to environmental microheterogeneity.