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      Real-world conservation planning for evolutionary diversity in the Kimberley, Australia, sidesteps uncertain taxonomy

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          Most cited references 28

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          Preserving the evolutionary potential of floras in biodiversity hotspots.

          One of the biggest challenges for conservation biology is to provide conservation planners with ways to prioritize effort. Much attention has been focused on biodiversity hotspots. However, the conservation of evolutionary process is now also acknowledged as a priority in the face of global change. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) is a biodiversity index that measures the length of evolutionary pathways that connect a given set of taxa. PD therefore identifies sets of taxa that maximize the accumulation of 'feature diversity'. Recent studies, however, concluded that taxon richness is a good surrogate for PD. Here we show taxon richness to be decoupled from PD, using a biome-wide phylogenetic analysis of the flora of an undisputed biodiversity hotspot--the Cape of South Africa. We demonstrate that this decoupling has real-world importance for conservation planning. Finally, using a database of medicinal and economic plant use, we demonstrate that PD protection is the best strategy for preserving feature diversity in the Cape. We should be able to use PD to identify those key regions that maximize future options, both for the continuing evolution of life on Earth and for the benefit of society.
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            Threatened species and the potential loss of phylogenetic diversity: conservation scenarios based on estimated extinction probabilities and phylogenetic risk analysis.

             D. Faith (2008)
            New species conservation strategies, including the EDGE of Existence (EDGE) program, have expanded threatened species assessments by integrating information about species' phylogenetic distinctiveness. Distinctiveness has been measured through simple scores that assign shared credit among species for evolutionary heritage represented by the deeper phylogenetic branches. A species with a high score combined with a high extinction probability receives high priority for conservation efforts. Simple hypothetical scenarios for phylogenetic trees and extinction probabilities demonstrate how such scoring approaches can provide inefficient priorities for conservation. An existing probabilistic framework derived from the phylogenetic diversity measure (PD) properly captures the idea of shared responsibility for the persistence of evolutionary history. It avoids static scores, takes into account the status of close relatives through their extinction probabilities, and allows for the necessary updating of priorities in light of changes in species threat status. A hypothetical phylogenetic tree illustrates how changes in extinction probabilities of one or more species translate into changes in expected PD. The probabilistic PD framework provided a range of strategies that moved beyond expected PD to better consider worst-case PD losses. In another example, risk aversion gave higher priority to a conservation program that provided a smaller, but less risky, gain in expected PD. The EDGE program could continue to promote a list of top species conservation priorities through application of probabilistic PD and simple estimates of current extinction probability. The list might be a dynamic one, with all the priority scores updated as extinction probabilities change. Results of recent studies suggest that estimation of extinction probabilities derived from the red list criteria linked to changes in species range sizes may provide estimated probabilities for many different species. Probabilistic PD provides a framework for single-species assessment that is well-integrated with a broader measurement of impacts on PD owing to climate change and other factors.
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              Mapping evolutionary process: a multi-taxa approach to conservation prioritization

              Human-induced land use changes are causing extensive habitat fragmentation. As a result, many species are not able to shift their ranges in response to climate change and will likely need to adapt in situ to changing climate conditions. Consequently, a prudent strategy to maintain the ability of populations to adapt is to focus conservation efforts on areas where levels of intraspecific variation are high. By doing so, the potential for an evolutionary response to environmental change is maximized. Here, we use modeling approaches in conjunction with environmental variables to model species distributions and patterns of genetic and morphological variation in seven Ecuadorian amphibian, bird, and mammal species. We then used reserve selection software to prioritize areas for conservation based on intraspecific variation or species-level diversity. Reserves selected using species richness and complementarity showed little overlap with those based on genetic and morphological variation. Priority areas for intraspecific variation were mainly located along the slopes of the Andes and were largely concordant among species, but were not well represented in existing reserves. Our results imply that in order to maximize representation of intraspecific variation in reserves, genetic and morphological variation should be included in conservation prioritization.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Conservation Letters
                CONSERVATION LETTERS
                Wiley-Blackwell
                1755263X
                February 16 2018
                :
                :
                : e12438
                Article
                10.1111/conl.12438
                © 2018

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