Plant Diversity ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (03): 91-105.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2018.04.002

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Securing a future for China's plant biodiversity through an integrated conservation approach

Sergei Volis   

  1. Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650204, China
  • Received:2017-12-18 Revised:2018-04-18 Online:2018-06-25 Published:2018-07-13
  • Contact: Sergei Volis


The severely threatened Chinese flora urgently needs a new, well adapted to China and properly formulated conservation strategy. The present review provides a detailed conservation methodology that complements previously described guidelines for preservation of plant species with extremely small populations (PSESP) in China. This review adds to the above concept in several aspects, making it relevant to all threatened Chinese plant species. The proposed integral conservation strategy has the following crucial components:
-ecoregional basis for conservation planning and implementation;
-a unified scoring system that is used in regional systematic planning for reserve design, monitoring and assessment of efficiency of a reserve network, and creation of seed banks and living collections;
-a focus on population demography and the presence of naturally occurring regeneration as the key criteria for defining the conservation status of a species and the appropriate major focus of the species recovery plan;
-creation of multi-species living collections that preserve species genetic variation and provide material for in situ actions;
-experimental translocation of threatened species into multiple locations within and outside their known range.
Adopting and implementing these strategies successfully and more fully in China requires that the country changes PA legislation and improves PA management, the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) re-prioritizes the type of research that receives research funds, and local scientists improve their approach toward information sharing.

Key words: Biodiversity, Threatened plants, Conservation guidelines, Chinese plant conservation, Nature reserves, Protected areas