Evaluating the extinction risk of a perennial herb: demographic data versus historical records
2002 (English)In: Conservation Biology, ISSN 0888-8892, E-ISSN 1523-1739, Vol. 16, no 3, 683-690 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Demographic information is frequently used to project the long-term extinction risk of endangered species, but the limitations of this approach have not been extensively discussed. We examined demographic data for the endangered perennial herb Primula farinosa with matrix models to assess population growth rates and extinction risks. The data came from six populations in contrasting habitats followed over a 4-year period. The results of these demographic models were compared to the results of experimental manipulations and to the actual change in occurrence of P. farinosa over a 70-year period in different habitat types. According to demographic models, all managed populations had a projected negative population growth rate and experienced a high extinction risk in 100 years, whereas unmanaged populations had increasing population sizes. In contrast, experiments and historical records suggested that continuous grazing is positively correlated with population persistence. Our results thus show that demographic studies done during a transient phase of population growth after management cessation may not capture the long-term changes. In such cases, projections of population growth rates may give misleading guidance for conservation. Short-term demographic studies are in many cases unlikely to correctly assess the survival probability of a species. We therefore argue that complementary information, such as long-term historical data or experimental manipulations of the environment, should be used whenever possible.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 16, no 3, 683-690 p.
primroses, endangered plants, plant populations, extinction (biology)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22645DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.00509.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-22645DiVA: diva2:189210
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1022004-04-152004-04-152010-07-27Bibliographically approved