Biodiversity Science ›› 2002, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (3): 332-338.doi: 10.17520/biods.2002046

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Identifying populations for priority conservation of important species

CHEN Xiao-Yong, LU Hui-Ping, SHEN Lang, LI Yuan-Yuan   

  1. 1 Department of Environmental Science , East China Normal University , Shanghai 200062
    2 Urban and Environmental Open Laboratory , The Ministry of Education , Shanghai 200062
  • Received:2001-09-05 Revised:2002-05-03 Online:2002-08-20
  • CHEN XiaoYong

Due to differences in the significance of populations, limits in funds for species conservation and conflict between conservation and economic development, deciding what and where to conserve is an essential step in managing important species, especially endangered species and wild relatives of crops and domesticated animals. There are three approaches to identifying populations for priority conservation of important species, including genetic variation-based, genetic distinctiveness-based and genetic contribution based. The genetic variation based approach chooses populations with high genetic variation, especially allelic diversity, for priority conservation. This approach does not consider genetic distinctiveness. Some distinctive alleles in populations with low genetic variation may not receive effective conservation based on this approach. In contrast, the distinctiveness-based approach, such as those based on evolutionarily significant units, chooses distinct populations for priority conservation. The genetic contribution based approach, a synthesis considering genetic variation and distinctiveness, is the most appropriate approach in determining which populations need priority conservation. We propose that this work should be considered urgent in China for some endangered or rare species.

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