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Journal Articles Nature Ecology & Evolution Year : 2021

Conserving intraspecific variation for nature’s contributions to people


The rapid loss of intraspecific variation is a hidden biodiversity crisis. Intraspecific variation, which includes the genomic and phenotypic diversity found within and among populations, is threatened by local extinctions, abundance declines, and anthropogenic selection. However, biodiversity assessments often fail to highlight this loss of diversity within species. We review the literature on how intraspecific variation supports critical ecological functions and nature’s contributions to people (NCP). Results show that the main categories of NCP (material, non-material, and regulating) are supported by intraspecific variation. We highlight new strategies that are needed to further explore these connections and to make explicit the value of intraspecific variation for NCP. These strategies will require collaboration with local and Indigenous groups who possess critical knowledge on the relationships between intraspecific variation and ecosystem function. New genomic methods provide a promising set of tools to uncover hidden variation. Urgent action is needed to document, conserve, and restore the intraspecific variation that supports nature and people. Thus, we propose that the maintenance and restoration of intraspecific variation should be raised to a major global conservation objective.
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Dates and versions

hal-03181332 , version 1 (25-03-2021)



Simone Des Roches, Linwood Pendleton, Beth Shapiro, Eric Palkovacs. Conserving intraspecific variation for nature’s contributions to people. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2021, ⟨10.1038/s41559-021-01403-5⟩. ⟨hal-03181332⟩
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