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Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations Conservation in China
source:Kunming Botanical Garden     author:MA Yongpeng     2013-02-21

Over the past decades, biodiversity conservation in China has achieved a number of successes. However, due to inadequate conservation policies, poor implementation and lack of financial support, these conservation achievements are not sufficient to protect China’s high level of plant species diversity. One of the most important is that there is no clear concept of which wild species should receive protection priority. In fact, determining the conservation status of plant species is one of the outstanding problems that have limited Global Strategy for Plant Conservation progress. And even though it is the most widely used and all encompassing system for global and national plant conservation, the IUCN Red List approach is also imperfect as the probabilistic assessment of the likelihood that a species in a particular threat category will go extinct within some stated time frame cannot be used as a robust prediction about the fate of a particular species for which conservation actions could be implemented.

To address this problem for the most threatened plant species in China, a new conservation action concept focused on plant species with extremely small populations was recently proposed and developed by Professor SUN Weibang’s research team of Kunming Institute of Botany, and the team has taken effort to plant species with extremely small populations research and conservation practice since 2004. The plant species with extremely small populations concept refers to species with low numbers due to serious human disturbance in recent times; it excludes naturally rare species. Small remaining populations, restricted habitat, serious human disturbance and extremely high risk of extinction are key characteristics of plant species with extremely small populations. The team’s article entitled: Conserving plant species with extremely small populations was published online firstly in Conservation and Biodiversity (http://link.springer. com/article/ 10.1007/s10531–013-0434-3).

The article was detailed described the procession and development of the finally acceptance of plant species with extremely small populations from both the governmental system and conservation majorities in China. And several national and regional-level conservation strategies and actions for conserving China’s plant species with extremely small populations are being implemented over the next 5 years. With this new policy framework leading the way, plant conservation in China is set to make important new advances.

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