Achieving Target 2 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: building a preliminary assessment of vascular plant species using data from herbarium specimens

Krupnick, Gary A.; Kress, W. John; Wagner, Warren L.
June 2009
Biodiversity & Conservation;Jun2009, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p1459
Academic Journal
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation calls for a preliminary assessment of the conservation status of all known plant species by the year 2010. To date insufficient progress has been made on meeting this target. New efforts to develop a preliminary list beyond using the full IUCN criteria in plant assessments are needed. Here we present an algorithm that provides a preliminary assessment of the conservation status of plant species using data from herbarium specimens. We use Hawaiian specimen data from the United States National Herbarium to calibrate the parameters of the algorithm and then use specimen data from the Arecaceae, Commelinaceae, Gesneriaceae and Heliconiaceae as examples of the application of the algorithm. The algorithm was calibrated to insure 95% accuracy in placing the Hawaiian plant species into previously and independently determined threatened categories. Our results indicate that 28% of the Hawaiian taxa, 27% of the species of Arecaceae, 45% of the species of Commelinaceae, 32% of the species of Gesneriaceae, and 35% of the species of Heliconiaceae are Not Threatened and will not need any further evaluation for the preliminary assessment. Species identified here as Potentially Extinct and Potentially Threatened can be further assessed by additional herbarium material and/or conservation specialists for final evaluation using other assessment strategies (e.g., regional and national lists, taxonomic expert assessment, etc.).


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