Plant Diversity ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (03): 272-283.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.02.005

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Distribution and conservation of near threatened plants in China

Qin Liua,b, Tian-Tian Xuea,c, Xiao-Xia Zhanga,c, Xu-Dong Yanga,c, Fei Qina,c, Wen-Di Zhanga,c, Lei Wub, Rainer W. Bussmannd,e, Sheng-Xiang Yua,c   

  1. a. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;
    b. College of Forestry, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China;
    c. College of Life Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    d. Institute of Botany and Bakuriani Alpine Botanical Garden, Ilia State University, Botanical Str. 1, Tbilisi 0105, Georgia;
    e. Department of Botany, State Museum for Natural History Karlsruhe, Erbprinzenstra?e 13, Karlsruhe 76133, Germany
  • Received:2022-08-20 Revised:2022-11-07 Published:2023-07-06
  • Contact: Lei Wu,;Rainer W. Bussmann,;Sheng-Xiang Yu,
  • Supported by:
    We are thankful to the Chinese Virtual Herbarium (CVH) and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) for permission to access species distribution data. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32071654), The Biodiversity Survey and Assessment Project of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China (2019HJ2096001006) and Biodiversity Survey, Observation and Assessment Program of Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China (8-3-7-20-9).

Abstract: Plants classified as Near Threatened (NT) are at high risk of becoming threatened because of anthropogenic interference and climate change. Especially in conservation efforts, such species have however long been overlooked. Here, we obtained 98,419 precise occurrence points for 2442 NT plants in China, and used species richness, species complementarity, and weighted endemism that consider all, endemic and narrow-ranged species in order to identify the diversity hotspots of NT plants. Then we evaluated the conservation effectiveness of current nature reserves for them. Our results indicate that the diversity hotspots of NT plants were mainly confined to southwestern and southern China, and only 35.87% of hotspots and 71.5% of species were protected by nature reserves. Numerous hotspots in southwestern China (e.g., Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Hainan) were identified as conservation gaps. Given that NT plants include large proportions of endemic and narrow-ranged species, they represent an important value in conservation priority. So, more conservation efforts in the future should be tilted towards NT plants. Additionally, when comparing with the recently updated NT list, there are already 87 species raised to threatened categories, while 328 species were lowered to least concern, 56 species were now categorized as data deficient, and 119 species considered as uncertain due to changes of scientific names. It is essential to carry out a continuous assessment of species' threatened categories to realize targeting conservation.

Key words: Conservation, Distribution patterns, Diversity hotspots, Nature reserves, Red list, Near threatened species