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      The role of taxonomy in species conservation.

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          Abstract

          Taxonomy and species conservation are often assumed to be completely interdependent activities. However, a shortage of taxonomic information and skills, and confusion over where the limits to 'species' should be set, both cause problems for conservationists. There is no simple solution because species lists used for conservation planning (e.g. threatened species, species richness estimates, species covered by legislation) are often also used to determine which units should be the focus of conservation actions; this despite the fact that the two processes have such different goals and information needs. Species conservation needs two kinds of taxonomic solution: (i) a set of practical rules to standardize the species units included on lists; and (ii) an approach to the units chosen for conservation recovery planning which recognizes the dynamic nature of natural systems and the differences from the units in listing processes that result. These solutions are well within our grasp but require a new kind of collaboration among conservation biologists, taxonomists and legislators, as well as an increased resource of taxonomists with relevant and high-quality skills.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
          Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
          The Royal Society
          0962-8436
          0962-8436
          Apr 29 2004
          : 359
          : 1444
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, UK. georgina.mace@ioz.ac.uk
          Article
          10.1098/rstb.2003.1454
          1693347
          15253356
          c4b49d45-fe0b-4481-850a-28f2b4b4e543

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