Biodiversity Conservation and Phylogenetic Systematics

Volume 14 of the series Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation pp 287-304

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

Priorities for Conservation of the Evolutionary History of Amphibians in the Cerrado

  • Débora Leite SilvanoAffiliated withLaboratório de Zoologia – Universidade Católica de Brasília Email author 
  • , Paula Hanna ValdujoAffiliated withLaboratório de Ecologia da Paisagem WWF-Brasil
  • , Guarino Rinaldi ColliAffiliated withDepartamento de Zoologia, Universidade de Brasília


Population declines and species extinction can be abated through the establishment of effective conservation policies. Actions and policies towards biodiversity conservation must be well planned and priorities must be set. Besides the widely recognized principles of systematic conservation planning, it is also important to consider species attributes, such as their evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) and distribution pattern. In this study we did a gap analysis to evaluate protection status of anuran species endemic to the Brazilian Cerrado. We then selected priority areas for conservation in this biome based on a systematic conservation planning framework, also including species attributes as prioritization criteria. We found 65 gap species, for which less than 20 % of their conservation targets are met by the current network of protected areas, and 39 of them are not protected at all. Priority areas are located in the central portion of the Cerrado, and include river valleys and mountaintops. Mountains in southeastern and central Cerrado are especially rich in endemic and range-restricted species, resulting in higher priority values for these areas. Priority areas selected here are also the richest regions and have greater Total Evolutionary Distinctiveness than the rest of the biome, demonstrating their high potential for conserving evolutionary history of anuran lineages in the Cerrado. Despite their great importance for biodiversity, areas that have higher richness of endemic species are also those that suffered from more severe loss of habitat, which reinforces the urgency for effective actions towards species conservation.


Evolutionary distinctiveness Systematic conservation planning Gap analysis Marxan Brazil