Data on vascular plants of boreal lakes in Finland were used to compare the efficiency of reserve selection methods in representing four aspects of biodiversity over a 63 year period. These aspects included species richness, phylogenetic diversity, restricted range diversity and threatened species. Our results show that the efficiency of reserve selection methods depends on the selection criteria used and on the aspect of biodiversity under consideration. Heuristic methods and optimizing algorithms were nearly equally efficient in selecting lake networks over a small geographical range. In addition, a scoring procedure was observed to be efficient in maintaining different aspects of biodiversity over time. However, the random selection of lakes seems to be the most inefficient option for a reserve network. In general, reserve selection methods seem to favour lakes that maximize one aspect of diversity at the time of selection, but the network may not be the best option for maintaining the maximum diversity over time. The reserve selection methods do affect the long-term outcome but it is impossible to recommend one method over the others unequivocally.