Are current protections of land snails in Hungary relevant to conservation?
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- Sólymos, P. Biodivers Conserv (2007) 16: 347. doi:10.1007/s10531-005-2354-3
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Legal instruments for species conservation have been criticised because they take a long time to draw up and implement and because invertebrates are highly underrepresented. For these reasons legal documents need regular re-evaluation as more data and effective methods are available. The effectiveness of the Hungarian legislative texts was assessed by the congruence between protection status and conservation priority of the species. Species were prioritised according to the conservation priority index (CPI = MRI × PBR), which included mollusca rarity index (MRI) and protection-by-reserves score (PBR). Mollusca rarity index was an additive scoring method including global range size, local frequency, and a correction factor due to the biased frequency estimate or special importance of some species. PBR scores expressed the lack of congruence between distribution of reserves and distribution of species. I used the distribution data of 121 Hungarian land snail species based on 10 × 10 km resolution grid system. Current protection status of the species was associated with rarity, whereas the congruence between species occurrences and the location of existing reserves has been overlooked. Based on the 25% of the species with highest CPI scores, the species Helicigona planospira was highly recommended and 9 other species was recommended for protection. Two thirds of the occurrences of the strictly protected and endemic species Hygromia kovacsi and more than 25% of the occurrences of 10 protected species were located outside of current reserves. Local populations of these species need monitoring in order to detect changes in the area of occupancy.