Chapter

Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics

Volume 14 of the series Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation pp 1-15

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Phylogenetics and Conservation Biology: Drawing a Path into the Diversity of Life

  • Roseli PellensAffiliated withInstitut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB – UMR 7205 CNRS MNHN UPMC EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités Email author 
  • , Philippe GrandcolasAffiliated withInstitut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité, ISYEB – UMR 7205 CNRS MNHN UPMC EPHE, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Universités

Abstract

In the midst of a major extinction crisis, the scientific community is called to provide criteria, variables and standards for defining strategies of biodiversity conservation and monitoring their results. Phylogenetic diversity is one of the variables taken in account. Its consideration in biodiversity conservation stemmed from the idea that species are not equal in terms of evolutionary history and opened a completely new line of investigation. It has turned the focus to the need of protecting the Tree of Life, i.e. the diversity of features resulting from the evolution of Life on Earth. This approach is now recognized as a strategy for increasing options for future needs and values as well as for increasing the potential of biodiversity diversification in a future environment. Since its introduction in biodiversity conservation thinking much has been developed in order to compose our conceptual understanding of the importance of protecting the Tree of Life. The aim of this book is to contribute to the ongoing international construction of strategies for reducing biodiversity losses by exploring several approaches for the conservation of phylogenetic diversity. We hope that this concentrated effort will contribute to the emergence of new solutions and attitudes towards a more effective preservation of our evolutionary heritage. The chapters of this book are organized around three main themes: questions, methods and applications, providing a condensed updated picture of the state of the art and showing that either conceptually or methodologically phylogenetic diversity has everything to be on the global agenda of biodiversity conservation.

Keywords

Tree-of-life Sixth mass extinction Evolutionary heritage Biodiversity monitoring Essential biodiversity variable