National Parks and other protected areas not only provide a safe haven for biodiversity, they provide benefits to local communities and preserve some of the most beautiful places on our planet. ‘Coverage of protected areas’ is also a specific indicator in the 2010 Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Obtaining the data necessary to monitor trends in protected areas requires a massive effort by national authorities to compile, analyse and then distribute this data to the centralised depository of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). With a living and growing system of protected areas that now exceed 100,000 sites covering 19 million square kilometres, you can imagine that this is no small task!
Deforestation is a main driver of climate change and biodiversity loss. An incentive mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Here we use the best available global data sets on terrestrial biodiversity and carbon storage to map and investigate potential synergies between carbon and biodiversity-oriented conservation.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Since about 1600, 486 animal species have been recorded extinct. This represents about 0.04 of all animal species so far described. In the same period, 600 plant species are known to have disappeared, about 0.25 of the total. These figures are much smaller than those of the Permian/Triassic and Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinctions. One might therefore conclude that at present life on earth is at comparatively little risk of extinction. However, there is a growing body of data to show that the converse is true.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The forests of eastern Tanzania are a globally important biodiversity hotspot. In this study 361 eastern Tanzanian restricted range forest tree taxa were assessed. Of these taxa, 223 occurred in the Eastern Arc, 150 in Coastal forests, 17 in Northern forests and 21 in the Lake Nyasa forests. The majority of the taxa had restricted elevational ranges with 76.3 occurring in no more than two 200 m elevational bands out of a total potential elevation range of 3000 m. The majority of the taxa occupied a small area in the eastern Tanzanian forests, with 201 taxa being only found at a few sites. In determining priority areas for conservation, selection of taxon definitions can have important effects. For example, tree size varies with elevation, so if only large trees are used then site selection will be biased towards particular areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This study demonstrates the utility of carbon isotope discrimination in describing genetic adaptation to arid environments, although it is probably most useful in detecting differentiation when the strategy of the species under investigation is to increase water use efficiency, rather than drought-avoidance. The results suggest that populations on the eastern and western sides of the Andes should be treated as separate management units for the purposes of conserving the genetic resource of this species.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Tropical trees in the genus Aquilaria Lam. are the principal source of gaharu, one of the most valuable forest products traded internationally. Although these species are the focus of increasing conservation concern, information on their status and distribution is lacking. Information from herbarium accessions, a national forest inventory (NFI), field surveys and gaharu traders was used to assess the distribution of Aquilaria species in Indonesia, indicating population concentrations in Sumatra and eastern Kalimantan.
Given current deforestation rates, these data suggest that all Aquilaria species in Indonesia classify as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List criteria.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The threatened Chilean conifer Podocarpus salignus D. Don is currently the focus of ex situ conservation eorts being undertaken by the Conifer Conservation Programme of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. To assess variation within in and ex situ populations of the species, leaf material collected from four wild populations was analysed by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD).
RAPD was found to be an effective tool for assessing the genetic structure of P. salignus, for providing a guide to future germplasm-sampling strategies, and for hybrid identification. Implications for genetic conservation of the species and the role of ex situ approaches are discussed.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Fagus grandifolia var. mexicana (Mexican beech) is limited to about 10 populations (2-35 ha) in the Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico. The objectives were to assess the current status and distribution of beech by surveying five sites. Species richness varied between three to 27 tree species in the canopy, and from nine to 29 species in the understorey. Basal area of trees greater than or equal to 5 cm dbh varied between 27.87 and 70.98 m2 ha-1, and density from 370 to 1290 individual ha-1. Beech represented 22-99.6 of total basal area, and 6.8-83.3 of total density. Beech dominance varied from monodominant to codominance with Carpinus caroliniana, Quercus spp., Liquidambar styraciflua, Magnolia schiedeana, and Podocarpus spp. Beech total population size ranged from 180 to 6300 trees with a total of less than 1300 individuals in four sites. Anthropogenic disturbance remains a major threat to these forests. It is uncertain whether Mexican beech will be able to survive without conservation efforts.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle), a southern South American tree species of exceptional cultural and economic importance, is of conservation concern owing to extensive historical clearance and current human pressures. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers were used to characterise genetic heterogeneity within and among 13 populations of this species from throughout its natural range.
Although populations are geographically divided into Chilean Coastal, Chilean Andes and Argentinean regions, this grouping explained only 1.77 of the total variation. Within Andean groups there was evidence of a trend of genetic distance with increasing latitude, and clustering of populations across the Andes, suggesting postglacial migration routes from multiple refugia. Implications of these results for the conservation and use of the genetic resource of this species are discussed.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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