The past few years have highlighted the need to protect diversity in its broader concept and, in particular, with reference to the ecological context for environmental protection. In this context, the problem of the definition and the measurement of diversity becomes fundamental. This paper provides a general picture of the main biodiversity indices proposed in literature and shows their limits in favor of diversity profiles. Since the diversity profile is a curve which expresses the diversity as a function of the relative abundance vector, it may be studied through the functional approach. In particular,we point out the advantages of the parametric FDA which, under suitable assumptions, allow us to obtain summary statistics of the same functional form of the observed data. Diversity profiles and parametric FDA approach have been applied to evaluate the diversity of epiphytic lichens in the province of Florence, providing an alternative way of understanding the biological diversity.
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