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In situ gap analysis can be carried out at different levels:

  • Individual CWR level: whether the target CWR taxa are adequately represented by active in situ conservation.
  • Ecogeographic level: whether the whole ecogeographic range of the CWR is represented in situ. Ecogeographic diversity can be used as an indicator of genetic diversity, the assumption being that the conservation of maximum ecogeographic diversity will result in the conservation of maximum genetic diversity. Characterizing populations according to the environmental conditions in which they grow can also help to identify useful abiotic traits such as extreme temperatures, drought etc.
  • Genetic level: whether specific CWR populations that contain genetic diversity of interest (e.g. high genetic diversity) are conserved in situ.
  • Trait level: whether specific CWR populations that contain a particular trait of interest (e.g. resistance to drought etc.) are adequately conserved in situ.

In situ gap analysis includes the following five main steps:

  1. Select the occurrence data to be used in the analysis.
  2. Identify the CWR that do not occur within the existing network of protected areas (individual CWR taxon level).
  3. Identify the CWR that do occur within existing protected areas but are not actively managed and conserved (individual CWR taxon level).
  4. CWR distribution modelling and field confirmation.
  5. Identify gaps at infra-species level, i.e. ecogeographic diversity, genetic and trait levels.

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