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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Sep 27;366(1578):2652-60. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0104.

Complete, accurate, mammalian phylogenies aid conservation planning, but not much.

Author information

  • 1Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS UMR5175, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France. ana.rodrigues@cefe.cnrs.fr

Abstract

In the face of unprecedented global biodiversity loss, conservation planning must balance between refining and deepening knowledge versus acting on current information to preserve species and communities. Phylogenetic diversity (PD), a biodiversity measure that takes into account the evolutionary relationships between species, is arguably a more meaningful measure of biodiversity than species diversity, but cannot yet be applied to conservation planning for the majority of taxa for which phylogenetic trees have not yet been developed. Here, we investigate how the quality of data on the taxonomy and/or phylogeny of species affects the results of spatial conservation planning in terms of the representation of overall mammalian PD. The results show that the better the quality of the biodiversity data the better they can serve as a basis for conservation planning. However, decisions based on incomplete data are remarkably robust across different levels of degrading quality concerning the description of new species and the availability of phylogenetic information. Thus, given the level of urgency and the need for action, conservation planning can safely make use of the best available systematic data, limited as these data may be.

PMID:
21844044
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3140728
Free PMC Article

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