Biodiversity conservation - no guarantee for shortcuts

October 30, 2002

New research from scientists at the University of Sheffield published in the November issue of Ecology Letters has cast doubts on the widely held 'rule of thumb' that the conservation of a country's biodiversity can be guaranteed by focusing on protecting its threatened and endemic species.

In a report published this week, Aletta Bonn, Ana Rodrigues and Kevin Gaston explain, "Nationally threatened and endemic species are important conservation targets in their own right. But focussing conservation efforts solely on these species does not automatically ensure compliance with the provisions of the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity for a country.

A common assumption is that the protection of the threatened and endemic species would help preserve all species, by maintaining good quality habitats for the latter. However, our modelling results using Southern African birds show that this conservation strategy falls short, especially for representing other bird species in their centres of distribution."

The study also stresses the need for larger conservation networks in conservation planning directed at species persistence.
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Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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