Biosocial and bionumerical diversity of variously sized home gardens in Tabasco, Mexico

J.C. van der Wal, F. Bongers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The evaluation of species and structural diversity of home gardens strongly depends on the methods used. We distinguish the biosocial and the bionumerical method. The first is widely used and takes data of the whole population of trees of home gardens to calculate diversity. The bionumerical method calculates diversity from data of a fixed number of randomly selected trees. We apply both methods to analyze if structural and species diversity varies with home garden size, a theme of considerable conservation interest, and compare results. We inventoried the tree component of a sample of 61 home gardens from rural areas in Tabasco, Mexico, which we assigned to three size categories: small (=1,000 m2), medium sized (>1,000 and =2,000 m2), and large home gardens (>2,000 m2). Average species richness and Shannon diversity indices determined by the biosocial method were significantly different among home garden size classes. Average species richness determined by the bionumerical method did not differ among size classes. Both methods showed highest total observed and estimated species richness in the large home gardens, which contain many unique species. Both methods showed similar overall species composition among size classes and highest structural diversity in large home gardens. We conclude that it is important for conservation to maintain large home gardens in local mosaics, and that the biosocial and bionumerical methods are complementary. The bionumerical method allows straight comparison of population diversity within and among systems, but lacks attention for rare and unique species. The biosocial method evaluates how much diversity families custody.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-107
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • species richness
  • tropical forest
  • costa-rica
  • biodiversity
  • homegardens
  • plant
  • conservation
  • agroforestry
  • kerala
  • india


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