Bringing together approaches to reporting on within species genetic diversity.


Genetic diversity is one of the three main levels of biodiversity recognised in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Fundamental for species adaptation to environmental change, genetic diversity is nonetheless under-reported within global and national indicators. When it is reported, the focus is often narrow and confined to domesticated or other commercial species. Several approaches have recently been developed to address this shortfall in reporting on genetic diversity of wild species. While multiplicity of approaches is helpful in any development process, it can also lead to confusion among policy makers and heighten a perception that conservation genetics is too abstract to be of use to organisations and governments. As the developers of five of the different approaches, we have come together to explain how various approaches relate to each other and propose a scorecard, as a unifying reporting mechanism for genetic diversity. Policy implications. We believe the proposed combined approach captures the strengths of its components and is practical for all nations and subnational governments. It is scalable and can be used to evaluate species conservation projects as well as genetic conservation projects.

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