Strengthening the Link between International Conservation Policy and Plant Conservation Genetics to Achieve More Effective Plant Conservation

  • Christine E. Edwards Missouri Botanical Garden
Keywords: Aichi Biodiversity Targets, biodiversity indicators, genetic diversity, genetic erosion, Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, plant conservation genetics


Although both international conservation policymakers and conservation geneticists have the shared goal of halting the loss of biodiversity, currently these communities have very little interaction. Because the targets of international conservation policy focus very little on the conservation of genetic diversity in wild species, they have received little attention from the plant conservation genetics community. Conservation policymakers should more explicitly include the conservation of genetic diversity of wild species in future targets to ensure that this important aspect of biodiversity is not overlooked for the majority of species on earth and to attain more buy-in from the plant conservation genetics community; I highlight specific ways in which policymakers may more explicitly include genetic diversity in international policy targets. For their part, conservation geneticists need to conduct work that will advance the big-picture goals of conservation policy; here, I discuss specific actions that plant conservation geneticists can take, such as measuring the proportion of genetic diversity that is protected, designing experiments in such a way to measure genetic erosion, and developing protocols to increase the efficiency of ex situ collection efforts. By working together, plant conservation geneticists and conservation policymakers will more effectively accomplish the shared goal of halting the loss of plant biodiversity.