Estimation of Species Richness of Large Vertebrates Using Camera Traps: An Example from an Indonesian Rainforest

  • Timothy G. O’Brien
  • Margaret F. Kinnaird


The number of biological species that occurs at a particular geographic unit, whether that be global, a biogeographic region, country, or national park, is of great relevance to the management and conservation of biodiversity. Major policy initiatives at the international, national, and regional levels have committed entire government programs to attaining measurable targets of this variable in the conservation of biodiversity (Danielsen et al. 2005). The Convention on Biodiversity lists a reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity as a goal for 2010 and many of the indicators proposed to measure achievement of that goal are indices that hopefully track changes in species richness (United Nations Environment Programme 2002). It is unlikely that governments will be able to judge their progress without monitoring systems and indicators in place to assess the effectiveness of their interventions (Balmford et al. 2005). Species diversity usually refers to the number of species in a location or “species richness” (Schluter and Ricklefs 1993; Lande 1996). Species richness is often used as a state variable in evaluating the impact of management interventions and anthropogenic disturbance on biodiversity. One of the greatest hindrances to understanding and conserving biodiversity, however, is our inability to determine how many species we have and how fast that number is changing (Balmford et al. 2005; May 1988).


Species Richness Detection Probability Camera Trap Extinction Probability Camera Trapping 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Our research is a collaborative effort by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Department for Protection and Conservation of Nature. Our research was funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Save the Tiger Fund, a special project of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund and Princeton University Alumni Association. We would like to thank J. Ginsberg, M. Rao, L. Krueger, F. Bagley, and J. Seidensticker for their support and advice during this project. We also thank U. Wijayanto and I. Tanjung for assistance in data collection. C. Foley, S. Durant, and J Kingdon kindly provided information on Tanzania mammals. The manuscript benefited greatly from the comments of J. D. Nichols, A. F. O’Connell, K.U. Karanth, and an anonymous reviewer.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wildlife Conservation SocietyBronxUSA
  2. 2.Mpala Research CentreNanyukiKenya
  3. 3.Wildlife Conservation Society – Indonesia ProgramBogorIndonesia

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