Balancing phylogenetic diversity and species numbers in conservation prioritization, using a case study of threatened species in New Zealand

Bennett, Joseph R., Elliott, Graeme, Mellish, Belinda, Joseph, Liana N., Tulloch, Ayesha I. T., Probert, William J. M., Di Fonzo, Martina M. I., Monks, Joanne M., Possingham, Hugh P. and Maloney, Richard (2014) Balancing phylogenetic diversity and species numbers in conservation prioritization, using a case study of threatened species in New Zealand. Biological Conservation, 174 47-54. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.03.013

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Author Bennett, Joseph R.
Elliott, Graeme
Mellish, Belinda
Joseph, Liana N.
Tulloch, Ayesha I. T.
Probert, William J. M.
Di Fonzo, Martina M. I.
Monks, Joanne M.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Maloney, Richard
Title Balancing phylogenetic diversity and species numbers in conservation prioritization, using a case study of threatened species in New Zealand
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
1873-2917
Publication date 2014-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.03.013
Open Access Status
Volume 174
Start page 47
End page 54
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Funding for managing threatened species is currently insufficient to assist recovery of all species, so management projects must be prioritized. In attempts to maximize phylogenetic diversity conserved, prioritization protocols for threatened species are increasingly weighting species using metrics that incorporate their evolutionary distinctiveness. In a case study using 700 of the most threatened species in New Zealand, we examined trade-offs between emphasis on species' evolutionary distinctiveness weights, and the numbers of species prioritized, as well as costs and probabilities of success for recovery projects. Increasing emphasis on species' evolutionary distinctiveness weights in the prioritization protocol led to greater per-species costs and higher risk of project failure. In a realistic, limited-budget scenario, this resulted in fewer species prioritized, which imposed limits on the total phylogenetic diversity that could be conserved. However, by systematically varying the emphasis on evolutionary distinctiveness weight in the prioritization protocol we were able to minimize trade-offs, and obtain species groups that were near-optimal for both species numbers and phylogenetic diversity conserved. Phylogenetic diversity may not equate perfectly with functional diversity or evolutionary potential, and conservation agencies may be reluctant to sacrifice species numbers. Thus, we recommend prioritizing species groups that achieve an effective balance between maximizing phylogenetic diversity and number of species conserved.
Keyword Conservation planning
Prioritization
Threatened species
Evolutionary distinctiveness
Phylogenetic diversity
New Zealand
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Thu, 15 May 2014, 16:54:29 EST by Martina Di Fonzo on behalf of School of Biological Sciences