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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Practical application of indicators for genetic diversity in CBD post-2020 global biodiversity framework implementation

Thurfjell, Henrik; Laikre, Linda; Ekblom, Robert; Hoban, Sean; Sjogren-Gulve, Per


Genetic diversity is a key aspect of biological variation for the adaptability and survival of populations of species and must be monitored to assure maintenance. We used data from the Swedish Red List 2020 and from published reviews to apply three indicators for genetic diversity proposed for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). We studied a wide range of taxonomic groups, and made more detailed indicator assessments for mammals and herptiles.For indicator 1, the proportion of populations with effective population size Ne > 500, 33% of 22,557 investigated species had a population size estimate that could be used as a proxy for Ne. For herptiles and mammals, 70% and 49% of populations of species, respectively, likely had Ne > 500.Data for evaluation of indicator 2, the proportion of remaining populations or historical range, was available for 20% of all species evaluated for the Red List. Meanwhile, 32% of the herptile and 84% of the mammal populations are maintaining their populations and range.For indicator 3, the number of species or populations in which genetic diversity is monitored using DNA-based methods, there are genetic studies on 3% of all species, and 0.3% are beeing monitored genetically. In contrast, 68% of mammals and 29% of herptiles are studied using DNA, and 8% of mammals and 24% of herptiles are genetically monitored.We conclude that the Red List provides data that are suitable for evaluating the genetic indicators, but the data quality can be improved. We also show that the genetic indicators capture conservation issues of genetic erosion that the Red List misses. There is a synergy in estimating the genetic indicators in parallel with the Red Listing process. We propose that indicator values could be included in national Red Listing as a new category "genetically threatened", based on the genetic indicators.


Monitoring; Headline indicator; Conservation genetics; Conservation policy; Maintaining genetic diversity; Biodiversity

Published in

Ecological Indicators
2022, Volume: 142, article number: 109167
Publisher: ELSEVIER

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