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Trends Ecol Evol. 2013 Apr;28(4):199-204. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.015. Epub 2012 Dec 4.

Phylogenetic diversity and nature conservation: where are we?

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Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser Str. 4, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.


To date, there is little evidence that phylogenetic diversity has contributed to nature conservation. Here, we discuss the scientific justification of using phylogenetic diversity in conservation and the reasons for its neglect. We show that, apart from valuing the rarity and richness aspect, commonly quoted justifications based on the usage of phylogenetic diversity as a proxy for functional diversity or evolutionary potential are still based on uncertainties. We discuss how a missing guideline through the variety of phylogenetic diversity metrics and their relevance for conservation might be responsible for the hesitation to include phylogenetic diversity in conservation practice. We outline research routes that can help to ease uncertainties and bridge gaps between research and conservation with respect to phylogenetic diversity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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