Phylogeny and Conservation

Paul Williams P.Williams at NHM.AC.UK
Mon Feb 2 15:19:10 CST 1998

Reply-To: Shueyi at AOL.COM
Date:     Fri, 30 Jan 1998 17:39:01 EST
Dear John:
> Herein  lies one of the more significant viewpoint differences between the
>two approaches for prioritizing consercation tagets.  "Conservation people"
>don't VALUE threatened species more than other species, rather they beleive
>that the conservation of these targets is more urgent because they are in
>imperiled.  Their  goal it to conserve ALL biodiversity, and to achive that,
>you do have to select some targets first, and others later (at least for TNC
>types and our partners - zoo types have very diffenerent conservation goals
>and probably do value big rare mammals more than other species).

We would support John in this goal.  The problem comes when not ALL
biodiversity can be represented in protected areas, which may arise given
(i) that to represent all variety would require probably nearly all areas,
and (ii) that resources for conservation are limited and competing with
other interests.  In this situation, we are interested in how one might go
about identifying the 'best' areas to represent as much of this *variety*
as possible.

> This highlights another difference between the two camps.  It sounds as if
>the proponents of phylogentic methods assume that we have to choose between
>areas for success and while ignoring other key sites.  While resources are
>tight, we firmly believe that essentially ALL species can be conserved,
>phylogentic approach help pick BETWEEN sites to ensure that you maximize
>(something?) at those sites, while most conservations pick AMOUNG sites so
>that you most efficiently get everything.  This is a big difference in

To reiterate about priorities, and to agree with John in the other
paragraph above, we recognise that not everything can be done immediately,
so that it is important to accept that action may be more urgent for some
areas than for others.  This is *not* to say that other sites have no
value, but it is to face the necessity that higher priorities are more
urgent (the methods we favour currently can give one information about the
value of *all* sites, and their priority).  Furthermore, priorities are
identified in relation to a particular goal.  Therefore low priorities for
one goal may legitimately be high priorities for a different goal.

John's distinction between 'between' and 'among' is not apparent to me.

>...the two groups - one obsesed with results, the other with

We are interested in developing methods with other people in order to make
these methods more explicit, systematic and accountable.  However, we also
recognise that there is often more than one way of achieving common goals.

Paul Williams, Chris Humphries, Miguel Araujo, Dick Vane-Wright.
NEW - measuring biodiversity value & conservation priority
Biogeography & Conservation Laboratory
Department of Entomology
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK

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