Global conservation status assessment of the threatened aquatic plant genus Baldellia (Alismataceae): challenges and limitations

Abstract

In this study, the aquatic monocot Baldellia (Alismataceae) is used as a model for evaluating the general hindrances and shortfalls in the global conservation status assessment of a threatened taxon. Our study clearly shows that Linnean shortfalls (uncertainty in the number of species and taxonomy) and the Wallacean shortfall (fragmentary knowledge regarding distribution) form the basis for all other hindrances. We demonstrate that even in Europe, which has traditionally been very well investigated, between 60 and 75% of regions or countries possess no detailed distribution maps and/or data banks for Baldellia spp. Furthermore, between 50 and 60% of regions do not have any published red list category. Thus, only general conclusions concerning the global conservation status of the three Baldellia taxa are possible—a global assessment of conservation status for B. ranunculoides subsp. repens is nearly impossible. Baldellia ranunculoides s.str. shows a strong decline in practically all regions of its natural range, and thus it is probably the most threatened species in the genus. Baldellia alpestris is the least threatened species in the genus, even though it is a narrow endemic. Our case study clearly shows the need for reinforced coordination of research and conservation activities as well as an urgent need for data accessibility regarding taxonomic, chorological and conservation studies of endangered species.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Benoît Clement and Susanne Bollinger from the Botanical Garden of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) for their assistance during manuscript preparation. We are also indebted to Antony Buchala, University of Fribourg, for English improvement as well as to the Franklinia Foundation for its engagement and valuable support of field work. Further, we thank following local experts (alphabetical order): Paulo Alves, University of Porto, Portugal; Svein Baatvik, Directorat for Nature Management, Trondheim, Norway; Ramon Casimiro-Soriguer, Dep. Biologia Vegetal y Ecologia, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain; Kristijan Civic, State Institute for Nature Protection, Croatia; Christian Clerc, GEG Champ-Pittet, Switzerland; Antonio Crespi, Botanic Garden, University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal; Mohamed Fennane, Dépt. de Botanique et d’écologie végétale, University of Rabat, Morocco; Abdelkrim Hacène, Dept. de Botanique, Institut National Agronomique, University of Alger, Algeria; Andrew R. Jones, Countryside Council for Wales, UK; Mitja Kaligaric, Katedra za geobotaniko, Slovenia; Mart Külvik, Head of Research Centre. Environmental Protection Institute, Estonia; Leht Malle, The Estonian naturalist society, Estonia; Viesturus Melecis, Institute of Biology, University of Latvia; David Draper Munt, Museum Nacional de História Natural, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugual; Baudewijn Odé, Director of Stichting Foron, Leiden, the Netherlands; Francis Olivereau, Diréction régionale de l’environnement de la region Centre, France; Salvatore Pasta, Tutela delle specie vegetali prioritarie delle Isole Eolie, Sicily; Henrik Ærenlund Pedersen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Oscar Sánchez Pedraja, Grupo botànico cantàbrico, Cantabria, Spain; Uwe Raabe, Naturschutzamt Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland; Jacqueline Saintenoy-Simon, A.M.B.E, Association pour l’Etude de la Floristique, Bruxelles, Belgium; Hanno Schäfer, author of “Flora of the Azores”; Anna Scoppola, Università Tuscia, Italy; Rubim da Silva, University of Porto, Portugal; Arne Strid, Göteborg Botanical Garden, Sweden; Thomas Raus, Botanischer Garten Berlin, Deutschland; Flora-Lise Vuille, University of Zürich, Switzerland; Joanna Zalewska, Department of Plant Taxonomy and Phytogeography, Institute of Botany, Jagiellonian University, Poland.

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Correspondence to Gregor Kozlowski.

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Kozlowski, G., Rion, S., Python, A. et al. Global conservation status assessment of the threatened aquatic plant genus Baldellia (Alismataceae): challenges and limitations. Biodivers Conserv 18, 2307–2325 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-009-9589-3

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Keywords

  • Aquatic macrophyte
  • Conservation priority
  • Wallacean shortfall
  • Linnean shortfall
  • Red list