Biodiversity Science ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (1): 97-105.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.09101

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Reintroduction of rare and endangered plants: theories and practices

Xiang Zhou, Jiangyun Gao*   

  1. Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
  • Received:2010-04-23 Revised:2010-10-22 Online:2011-04-01
  • Jiangyun Gao

Reintroduction is defined as an attempt to establish a species in an area which was once part of its historical range, but from which it has been extirpated or become extinct. As an important strategy for species conservation and population restoration, reintroduction is increasingly applied to the conservation of rare and endangered plants. However, reintroduction is often a relatively high-risk and high-cost activity, and needs to be conducted under the direction of sound theories and reasonable techniques. Plant reintroductions often face specific challenges. Orchid reintroductions, particularly, are often confronted with more specific diffi-culties. Reintroduction, when combined with research efforts into ecology, pollination biology, propagation science, mycology, and population genetic diversity is termed integrated conservation, and has been demon-strated as an effective orchid conservation strategy. Based on scientific literature, this paper provides an overview of the reintroduction of rare and endangered plants in terms of definitions, criteria for success, theories and methods, and also summarizes the possible risks and problems of plant reintroduction.

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