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  • 1 Department of Life Sciences University of Trieste, 34127, Italy
  • | 2 Research Centre on Desertification (Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación, CIDE ,CSIC-UV), Km 405. Apdo. Oficial 46113, Valencia, Spain
  • | 3 Polytechnic University of Madrid (Departamento de Ingeniería Topográfica y Cartografía, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, UPM), Camino de la Arboleda, s/n. Campus Sur UPM, Autovía de Valencia km. 7, E 28031 Madrid, Spain
Open access

Abstract

In this paper, we want to support the idea of using a family of indices of similarity, that we call the Simpson's family indices or nestedness-based similarity functions (NBSF) for comparing operational geographic units (OGUs) (phytosociological relevés, animal traps, watersheds, administrative units, industrial areas, islands etc.). In these cases, similarity-dissimilarity depends, in addition to factors that induce replacement, also on factors that produce reduction or increment in the number of features within the same typology of OGUs (e.g., extent, reduction of fertility, anthropogenic pressure etc.). To keep into consideration this aspect, the indices are defined to be equal to 1 when the OGUs are completely nested. The results of the application to four simulated data sets prove that, when the data set does not show clear nested pattern, the use of NBSF produces results similar to the nestedness-free similarity functions, however since NBSF clearly detect nested situations, we should prefer their use in the circumstances where we think important to put in evidence nestedness. In conclusion, we support the idea of using both types of indices in order to improve the knowledge about the structure of any data set.

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