Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 2611–2623 | Cite as

Diversity and conservation of plant species in dry valleys, southwest China

  • Yu Juan Zhao
  • Xun GongEmail author
Review Paper


The dry valleys in southwest China harbor a highly varied concentration of endemic plant species. To date, the conservation of the unique ecosystem has been paid attention, whereas conservation for the regional endemic plant species has not been much focused. The dry valleys own approximately 1707 plant species among which, 37.42 % are endemic. The plant species in that dry ecosystem are currently challenged by the climate change and anthropogenic activity. To give insight into the current (and past) status of threatened species and the population conservation management strategies, we investigated the genetic diversities of endemic and endangered plant species in the dry valleys in the last decade, using nuclear or plastid molecular markers. Our data revealed that the plant species in this region have low levels of genetic diversity within populations and strong genetic structure. We thus concluded that strong geography patterns are mainly shaped by complex topography as well as their local habitats. We pointed that it is of importance to incorporate neutral and non-neutral genetic diversity when assessing the status of the endangered species. We suggest more research findings are needed to well understand and ensure regional effective conservation on the plant species occurred in the dry valleys.


Characteristic species Genetic diversity Genetic structure Conservation priority Dry-hot valleys Southwest China 



The authors thank National Natural Science Foundation of China for supporting the work on conservation genetics of endemic species in the dry-hot valleys (Program: 31400324). We are indebted to our colleagues J. J. and M. M. G. for providing their valuable data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of BotanyThe Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Wild Plant ResourcesKunmingChina

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