University Of Tasmania

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Complete, accurate, mammalian phylogenies aid conservation planning, but not much

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 12:04 authored by Rodrigues, ASL, Grenyer, R, Baillie, JEM, Bininda-Emonds, ORP, Gittlemann, JL, Hoffmann, M, Safi, K, Schipper, J, Stuart, SN, Thomas BrooksThomas Brooks
In the face of unprecedented global biodiversity loss, conservation planning must balance between refining and deepening knowledge versus acting on current information to preserve species and communities. Phylogenetic diversity (PD), a biodiversity measure that takes into account the evolutionary relationships between species, is arguably a more meaningful measure of biodiversity than species diversity, but cannot yet be applied to conservation planning for the majority of taxa for which phylogenetic trees have not yet been developed. Here, we investigate how the quality of data on the taxonomy and/or phylogeny of species affects the results of spatial conservation planning in terms of the representation of overall mammalian PD. The results show that the better the quality of the biodiversity data the better they can serve as a basis for conservation planning. However, decisions based on incomplete data are remarkably robust across different levels of degrading quality concerning the description of new species and the availability of phylogenetic information. Thus, given the level of urgency and the need for action, conservation planning can safely make use of the best available systematic data, limited as these data may be.


Publication title

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences










School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Royal Society of London

Place of publication

6 Carlton House Terrace, London, England, SW1Y 5AG

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 The Royal Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems