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ABSTRACT: Because the conservation of biodiversity occurs under time and resource constraints, it is necessary to prioritize species most deserving of attention. Natural history collections have been identified as a valuable source of information in applied conservation practice, particularly for species-rich taxa like plants. Here, online herbarium information was combined with a novel, straightforward priority setting approach to screen a large list of rare vascular plant species (n = 418) in Saskatchewan, Canada. Data was quantified to develop priority scores (for a given species) using three key criteria: (1) provincial responsibility in species survival, (2) species local population characteristics, and (3) the anthropogenic threats causing species to be rare. The use of a hierarchy of the three criteria, wherein provincial responsibility was assigned the most weight, resulted in the highest ranking for 13 species that exist only in Saskatchewan and no other Canadian province or territory. The list is a first step in identifying species deserving of conservation attention and/or further study, while the method itself was deemed to be highly relevant to conservation managers and decision makers due to its scale adaptability and fairly minimal resource requirements.

Category: Papers Conservation
Authors: Kricsfalusy, V.V. and Trevisan, N.
Publication Year: 2013

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