Supplementary methods and results from Phylogenetically informed spatial planning is required to conserve the mammalian tree of life
2017-10-23T12:21:16Z (GMT) by
In the face of the current extinction crisis and severely limited conservation resources, safeguarding the tree of life is increasingly recognized as a high priority. We conducted a first systematic global assessment of the conservation of phylogenetic diversity (PD) that uses realistic area targets and highlights the key areas for conservation of the mammalian tree of life. Our approach offers a substantially more effective conservation solution than one focused on species. In many locations, priorities for PD differ substantially from those of a species-based approach that ignores evolutionary relationships. This discrepancy increases rapidly as the amount of land available for conservation declines, as does the relative benefit for mammal conservation (for the same area protected). This benefit is equivalent to an additional 5900 Myr of distinct mammalian evolution captured simply through a better informed choice of priority areas. Our study uses area targets for PD to generate more realistic conservation scenarios, and tests the impact of phylogenetic uncertainty when selecting areas to represent diversity across a phylogeny. It demonstrates the opportunity of using rapidly growing phylogenetic information in conservation planning and the readiness for a new generation of conservation planning applications that explicitly consider the heritage of the tree of life's biodiversity.