Phylogeny and Conservation

Shueyi Shueyi at AOL.COM
Thu Jan 29 09:21:02 CST 1998


In a message dated 98-01-29 08:31:58 EST, you write:

<< <
 < At 00:18 29/01/98 EST, you wrote:
 < >May I add my two cents to this thread? For the last four years I've worked
 for
 < >the largest conservation land-buying program in the U.S. (Florida's
 < >Conservation and Recreation Lands program).  We don't much think about the
 < >phylogenetic relationships of organisms we're trying to protect.   We use
 < >information on the relative rarity and endangerment of species, and their
 < >habitat requirements, but that's all.  And we tend to focus on buying the
 < >largest, most intact chunks of land in the hope that this will protect the
 < >natural world of Florida most efficiently.  Phylogenetic considerations
are
 < >rather a luxury when we don't even know, for most species, how many
 < >populations in which spatial arrangements will be most viable.
 < >
 < >Mark A. Garland
 <
 < Dear Garland,
 <
 < I don't want to begin a debate with you, but only to express that Phylogeny
 < consideration is not a "luxury" and you must read more about this issue.
You
 < can begin with this papers:
 <
 < Gardner SL, Campbell ML 1992. Parasites as probes for biodiversity. J
 < Parasitol 78(4): 596-600.
 < Erwin TL 1991. An evolutionary basis for conservation strategies. Science
 < 253: 750-751.
 < Wilson EO 1986. The current state of biological diversity. In Biodiverdity,
 < E.O. Wilson (ed.) National Academy Press, Washington DC., p. 3-18.
 <
 < Best Wishes,
 < Luis C. Muniz                                      _________________
  <Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz - FIOCRUZ                         |Helminthological |
  <Dpto. de Helmintologia                                  |Collection       |
  <Lab. de Helmintos Parasitos de Vertebrados


 Based on this reply - I'm guessing that the phylogenetic relationships of
 every species (or population?) present in Brasil is now known.  How can I get
 my hands on this Publication?  I guess the need for additional taxonomists
was
 badly overstated, and now we can target each and every species present in the
 Neotropics and perhaps the world, one by one.

 I'm sorry for the sarcasm, but a reply like the one above can only come from
 someone how has never actually worked in conservation.  Studing species
 richness, evolutionary relationships, and so on -  does not equal
 conservation.

 In fact, the system used to select conservation targets in Florida (mentioned
 above), is the most complete  ever completed - anywhere, any place and any
 time.  It was designed to carry ALL biodiversity (at all levels of
 organisation) into the future.  It was based primarily upon ecosystems and
 ecosystem processes (like hydrology and fire disturbance - even hurricanes
 were considered as natural and repeating processes) and is designed to
 conserve both at the appropriate scale.  It was refined using advanced
 population viability analyses for selected species level targets, including a
 few plants, but mostly endemic birds and large mammals (bears and cats).  And
 then it was refined to create landscape-scale linkages throughout the entire
 state (to maintain gene flow).  There is a series of publications that
details
 the entire planning process and outcomes as well as identifies the strategies
 being implemented.  My copy is at home - but perhaps someone else could post
 these citations.  The only one I keep at my office is:

 Ron Myers and John Ewel, eds.  1990.  Ecosystems of Flodida .Univ of Central
 Florida Press. 763 pp.  It is a future classic (at least in my humble
 opinoin).

 I sure that there are quite a few people in Florida that think the idea is
 stupid, and they are undoubtably putting together their  little plans,
species
 by species.  But then, they don't have a $4billion dollar bond issue behind
 them for implimentation of their plans, do they?  Amazingly, the Florida
State
 legislature has to approve the appropriations for this every year
 ($300,000,000/year in state funding for 10 years).  I think that they are in
 year 5 or 6, and there has never been any hesitation.  The other billion
 dollars is raised from local agencies, and from what I understand, enthusiam
 is so high that this target will be exceeded by several 100 million.

 I wish there was at least another success story like this one in the world.

 John Shuey
 Director of Conservation Science
 Indiana Office of The Nature Conservancy

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