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This article was published in the above mentioned Springer issue.
The material, including all portions thereof, is protected by copyright;
all rights are held exclusively by Springer Science + Business Media.
The material is for personal use only;
commercial use is not permitted.
Unauthorized reproduction, transfer and/or use
may be a violation of criminal as well as civil law. ISSN 0960-3115, Volume 19, Number 9

ORIGINAL PAPER
New approaches for establishing conservation priorities
for socio-economically important plant species
Joana Magos Brehm•Nigel Maxted•
Maria Ame´
lia Martins-Louc¸a˜
o•Brian V. Ford-Lloyd
Received: 24 October 2009 / Accepted: 11 June 2010 / Published online: 1 July 2010
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
AbstractThe establishment of priorities among species is a crucial step in any conser-
vation strategy since ?nancial resources are generally limited. Traditionally, priorities for
conservation of plant species have been focused on endemicity, rarity and particularly on
their threatened status. Crop wild relatives (CWR) and wild harvested plants (WHP) are
important elements of biodiversity with actual or potential socio-economic value. In this
study, eight prioritisation criteria were used along with different prioritisation systems and
applied to the Portuguese CWR and WHP. The top 50 species obtained by each of these
methods were identi?ed. The ?nal top CWR were those that occurred as a priority in most
methods. Twenty CWR were identi?ed as the highest priorities for conservation in Por-
tugal and they include wild relatives of the crop generaAllium,Daucus,Dianthus,Epil-
obium,Festuca,Herniaria,Narcissus,Quercus,Plantago,Trifolium, andVicia. Eighteen
WHP were recognised as priorities for conservation and include severalNarcissusand
Thymusspecies, among others. The advantages, limitations and level of subjectivity of
each of the methods used in this exercise are discussed.
KeywordsConservation planningCrop wild relativesPrioritisation criteria
Ranking systemsScoring systemsWild harvested plants
J. M. BrehmN. MaxtedB. V. Ford-Lloyd
School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
J. M. Brehm (&)M. A. Martins-Louc¸a˜
o
Jardim Botaˆ
nico, Museu Nacional de Histo´
ria Natural, Universidade de Lisboa, R. Escola Polite´
cnica
58, 1250-102 Lisboa, Portugal
e-mail: [email protected]
M. A. Martins-Louc¸a˜
o
Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Faculdade de Cieˆ
ncias, Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande C2,
1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
123
Biodivers Conserv (2010) 19:2715–2740
DOI 10.1007/s10531-010-9871-4 Author’s personal copy

Introduction
Faced with so much plant diversity, the process of establishing priorities for conservation is
an obvious and key step in any conservation strategy. Prioritisation for conservation can be
undertaken at different levels (species, ecosystem, etc.). Species prioritisation is particu-
larly important when the focus is the conservation of socio-economically important species
and, subsequently, the maximisation of the conserved genetic diversity within them. These
taxa are taxonomically diverse and not located in single habitat types. A method of pri-
oritising at species level is therefore, more adequate than taking the ecosystem approach. It
allows conservation managers to know which taxa should be primarily targeted for con-
servation, which are not priorities and which have insuf?cient information to know if they
are priorities for conservation or not. There is no perfect method and the choice of both the
methodology used and the criteria upon which the priorities will be based depends largely
on the available information and the goal of our conservation strategy.
Numerous methods for setting species’ priorities have been developed over the time.
One of the ?rst attempts was presented by Rabinowitz (1981) and Rabinowitz et al. (1986)
who developed a system based on range, habitat speci?city and local abundance in order to
evaluate different ‘types of rarity’. Other types of prioritization procedures include rule-
based systems, scoring schemes, and ranking systems. The rule-based system consists of a
series of rules that a species has to agree with in order to ?t into a certain category
(e.g. IUCN2001). Scoring schemes use multiple scoring over a range of criteria to derive
total scores for each species (Given and Norton1993) and the result is a ranked list of taxa.
They have been applied to a wide range of taxa from all over the World (e.g. Perring and
Farrell1983; Briggs and Leigh1988; Millsap et al.1990; Carter and Barker1993; Hunter
et al.1993; CALM1994; Lunney et al.1996; Carter et al.2000; Dhar et al.2000; Sapir
et al.2003; Kala et al.2004; Ray et al.2005; Rosenberg and Wells2005). Among the
most widely applied ranking systems is the one developed by the Natural Heritage Net-
work and The Nature Conservancy (Master1991; Morse1993; Stein1993). Other
approaches include that suggested by Coates and Atkins (2001) who developed a priority
setting process for Western Australian ?ora.
There has been considerable debate over which criteria should be considered when pri-
oritising species for conservation (see Fitter and Fitter1987; Maxted et al.1997). Priorities
have been determined by threat, endemicity, rarity, population decline (e.g. Whitten1990;
Department of Environment1996; Sapir et al.2003), quality of habitat, intrinsic biological
vulnerability, human impact (e.g. Tambutii et al.2001), species abundance in relation to their
geographical range size (e.g. Hoffmann and Welk1999), recovery potential and estimated
budget for conservation (e.g. Whitten1990), taxonomic uniqueness (e.g. Vane-Wright et al.
1991; Faith1992) and phylogenetic criteria (e.g. Linder1995), cultural values (e.g. Norton
1994; Dhar et al.2000), economic criteria (e.g. Bishop1978), level of species knowledge,
state of present research (e.g. Mitteau and Soupizet2000). Additionally, Flor et al. (2004)
proposed ?ve groups of criteria in order to prioritise European CWR: threat (IUCN Red
Listing category, biological susceptibility), conservation status (in situ and ex situ), genetics
(data on genepool, genetic erosion and pollution), economics (trade), and actual and potential
utilization (frequency, uses). On the other hand, Ford-Lloyd et al. (2008) suggested a more
easily applied methodology that uses the number of countries in which taxa occur (as a proxy
indicator of abundance/threat), and the ‘use’ categories (food crop, fodder/forage, industrial,
forestry, spice/condiment, medicinal, ornamental, cultural value) as criteria.
Crop wild relatives (CWR) and wild harvested plants (WHP) are valuable plant genetic
resources (PGR) and the need for their conservation has been reinforced by the Convention
2716 Biodivers Conserv (2010) 19:2715–2740
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on Biological Diversity (UNEP1992), the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and
Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO1996),
and more recently by the Global and European Strategies for Plant Conservation Targets
(CBD2002; Planta Europa2008). The importance of these two groups of wild plant
species rely on their major role in the well functioning of ecosystems, but also on: (i) their
value as sources of genes for crop improvement via traditional breeding and biotechnology
for CWR (Jain1975; Schoen and Brown1993; Maxted et al.2006,2008; Heywood et al.
2007; Maxted and Kell2009) (e.g. Rawat et al.2008; Schneider et al.2008) as climate
change threatens both traditional and modern cultivars (Heywood2008; Maxted et al.
2008), and (ii) on their ethnobotanical value, relatively small scale wild collection and
utilization for WHP, since they are primarily used by local people as a source of food,
medicines, oils, used in magic and religious traditions, among others (see Cook1995for
the main usage categories of wild plants, and also Heywood1999) (e.g. Camejo-Rodrigues
et al.2003; Ratnayake and Kariyawasam2008).
CWR and WHP, like any other groups of wild species, have been subjected to an
increasing range of threats which may eventually lead to extinction. Particularly in Por-
tugal, threats are mainly related to the degradation of environmental quality and land-use
changes which include the conversion of native forest areas into fast growing tree plan-
tations, unsustainable resource exploitation such as dams and exploitation of water
resources for irrigation and tourism, intensi?cation of agriculture and abandonment of
agricultural ?elds, as well as pollution from toxics generated in mines, urbanization and
coastal mass tourism (Direcc¸a˜
o Geral do Ambiente2000). Moreover, a future climate
scenario with dramatic consequences in Portugal, especially in the southern regions, has
been predicted with several simulation models (Miranda et al.2002; Santos and Miranda
2006). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identi?ed Portugal,
Spain and some parts of Central and Eastern Europe as amongst the regions most prone to
drought risk (IPCC2007). Heatwaves and consequently drought have triggered numerous
?res which have already been affecting this area. In Portugal alone, around 390,000 ha
have been devastated in 2003 (Fink et al.2004).
Using the broad de?nition that CWR include all species found in the same genus as the
crop species (Maxted et al.2006) there are 2,319 CWR and WHP taxa in Portugal, which is
about 77% of the Portuguese Flora, of which 97.5% are CWR, 21.4% are WHP and 19.0%
are both CWR and WHP (Magos Brehm et al.2008a). The relatively large numbers of
Portuguese CWR and WHP mean that with limited conservation resources it is necessary
to establish priorities among these taxa.
In this study, various criteria and different prioritisation schemes were used and the ?nal
methodology developed was then applied to the inventory of Portuguese CWR and WHP
(available atwww.jb.ul.pt, also see Magos Brehm et al.2008a) in order to obtain a list of
priority CWR and WHP for active conservation in Portugal. The aim of this study was thus
to develop an innovative prioritisation scheme making use of the readily available data and
to identify priority CWR and WHP for conservation in Portugal.
Materials and methods
Criteria used in species prioritisation
Eight types of criteria were used (Table1):
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Table 1Criteria used in setting conservation priorities for Portuguese CWR and WHP (adapted from Magos Brehm et al.2008a)
Criteria Explanation Categories Sources of information
Native status Whether the taxon is native to the country,
introduced, invasive or has a doubtful
native status(i) Native, (ii) doubtfully native,
(iii) archaeophyte (introduced before
1500s), (iv) neophyte (introduced after
1500s), (v) diaphyte established in a non-
permanent way,
a(vi) invasive (potentially
invasive, dangerous invasive, very
dangerous invasiveb), (vii) not native but
we don’t know whether an archaeophyte or
neophyteCastroviejo et al. (1986–2003), Decreto-Lei
no 565/99 (Ministe´
rio do Ambiente
1999a), UNECE/FAO (2000), Almeida
(2005), Kell et al. (2005)
Economic value (i) To each genus an economic category was
ascribed taking into consideration the
category of the related crop cultivated in
Portugal; for those crops not cultivated in
Portugal, the crop category was assigned
according to the European common
catalogue and the Mansfeld’ World
Database; (ii) the crop production in
tonnes, and (iii) in Euros; (iv) crop surface
of cultivation; (v) if the related crop has
registered traditional products;
(vi) whether the crop is included in the
National Catalogue of Varieties or the
Common Catalogue for Agricultural and
Vegetable Varieties; and (vi) the number
of varieties cultivated in Portugal(i) Food, (ii) fodder/forage, (iii) industrial,
(iv) forestry, (v) aromatic and medicines,
(vi) ornamental, (vii) other usesINE (2001,2002a,b,2003a,b,2004), DGPC
(2003), EU (2003a,b), IPK (2003),
Ministe´
rio da Agricultura,
Desenvolvimento Rural e Pescas (2003,
2005a,b), FAOSTATS (2005)
Ethnobotanical value The number of ethnobotanical uses was used
as the criterion that accounts for the
traditional and cultural value of PGR(i) Aromatic, (ii) beauty, (iii) condiments, (iv)
dyes, (v) environmental, (vi) food and
drink, (vii) forage and fodder, (viii) ?bres
and materials, (ix) melliferous,
(x) medicinal, (xi) ornamental,
(xii) poisonous or toxic plants, (xiii)
religious and magic uses, (xiv) repellents,
(xv) othersSee Portuguese CWR and WHP inventory
available atwww.jb.ul.ptfor the complete
list of references
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Table 1continued
Criteria Explanation Categories Sources of information
Global distribution Global distribution data was categorized and
a category was assigned accordingly to
each taxon(i) Portugal, (ii) Iberian Peninsula, (iii)
Iberian Peninsula?1 country, (iv) Iberian
Peninsula?North Africa, (v) Iberian
Peninsula?North Africa?1 country,
(vi) Mediterranean, (vii) Europe/WorldMunby (1847), Schousboe (1874), Cosson
(1883–1887), Maire (1952–1987), Parker
(1981), Dray (1985), Castroviejo et al.
(1986–2003), Valde´
s et al. (1987), Tutin
et al. (2001),Flore d’Alge´
rie(unknown
author and date)
National distribution The number of provinces in which each
taxon occurs was considered– Castroviejo et al. (1986–2003), Dias (2002),
Magos Brehm (2004)
Ex situ conservation status Whether the taxa are represented by seed
accessions being held in national and/or
international genebanks– See Portuguese CWR and WHP inventory
available atwww.jb.ul.ptfor the complete
list of references
In situ conservation status If active in situ conservation projects are
being undertaken in national territory–
Legislation Whether the taxon is under any kind if
national and/or international legislation(i) Habitats’ Directive, (ii) Bern Convention,
(iii) Council of Europe1977,1983
(iv) national legislationCouncil of Europe (1977,1983), Decreto-
Lei no 95/81 (Ministe´
rio do Ambiente
1981), Council Decision 82/72/EEC (Bern
Convention) (1979), Decreto Lei no 423/
89 (Ministe´
rio do Planeamento e
Administrac¸a˜
o do Territo´
rio1989),
Council Directive 92/43/EEC, Decreto Lei
no 11/97 (Ministe´
rio da Agricultura, do
Desenvolvimento Rural e das Pescas
1997), Decreto Lei no 140/99 (Ministe´
rio
do Ambiente1999b)
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Table 1continued
Criteria Explanation Categories Sources of information
Threat assessment Information related to taxa threat assessment
(IUCN Red Listing) as well as on taxa
endangered by overexploitation(i) Extinct, (ii) Extinct in the Wild,
(iii) Critically endangered, (iv)
Endangered, (v) Vulnerable, (vi) Near
threatened, (vii) Least concern, (viii) Data
de?cient (IUCN 2001)See Portuguese CWR and WHP inventory
available atwww.jb.ul.ptfor the complete
list of references, and Magos Brehm
(2009)
Note that the ethnobotanical value criterion was not considered in the CWR analysis, whereas, economic value criteria was not included in the WHP analysisaSensu Kornas (1990)bInvasive taxa categories according to Ministe´
rio do Ambiente (1999a,b)
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(i)Native status. Since the inventory has both native and introduced species, priorities
were given to native taxa.
(ii)Economic value. The CWR have their main potential application in genetic
improvement of existing varieties. Therefore, the economic importance of the
related crop species is one good indicator of their wild relatives’ value.
(iii)Ethnobotanical value. FAO (1998) emphasizes the signi?cance of how the PGR
matter to local people. The importance of local valuation of wild PGR is discussed
extensively by Orlove and Brush (1996) and referred to by Maxted et al. (1997) and
Guijt (1998).
(iv)Global distribution. Priority increases with the more restricted distribution, so
national endemics should be given higher priority than species occurring world-wide.
(v)National distribution. National distribution was considered here as an indicator of
rarity. A species occurring in few provinces is considered rarer than a species
occurring throughout the country.
(vi)In situ and ex situ conservation status. Before a taxon can be given high priority for
conservation, current conservation activities relating to it should be reviewed. If
suf?cient genetic diversity is already being conserved in situ and/or ex situ,
additional conservation efforts may not be justi?ed, and resources should focus on
those species that are not being conserved.
(vii)Legislation. A species under any kind of legislation will require conservation
attention because national governments are responsible for protecting them.
(viii)Threat assessment. The IUCN Red List threat status of a particular taxon is
probably the most used criterion for determining conservation priority. Endangered
species should receive greater attention than those that are not under threat.
Given the different nature of CWR and WHP, the prioritisation of each of these groups
of plants took into account different criteria: the analysis of CWR did not take into account
the ethnobotanical value criterion, whereas the economic value criteria was not considered
in the WHP analysis.
Description of the methodology used for species prioritisation
The Portuguese CWR and WHP inventory (available fromwww.jb.ul.pt, also see Magos
Brehm et al.2008a) was used as the starting point for this exercise. CWR and WHP were
analysed separately.
Different priority setting procedures used
Four different methods of combining the nine criteria (Table1) were developed: (i) point
scoring procedure (PSP), (ii) point scoring procedure with weighting (PSPW), (iii) com-
pound ranking system (CRS), and (iv) binomial ranking system (BRS).
In the PSP, a series of scores for multiple criteria were assigned to each species, with the
highest number always indicating highest priority (see Table2). For example, the overall score
for each CWR was obtained by the sum of each individual criterion:R(native status?crop
category?traditional products?inclusion in national statistics?inclusion in national
catalogue of varieties?threatened status?in situ?ex situ?Habitat’s Directive?Bern
Convention?Council of Europe?other international legislation?national legislation?
global distribution?national distribution). Higher scores indicate greater conservation
concerns.
Biodivers Conserv (2010) 19:2715–2740 2721
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Table 2Categories and scores used in the PSP and PSPW weightingCriteria PSP scoresPSPW
weight
(%) 0123 4 567
Native status
Invasive – Diaphytes – Neophyte, introduced
without knowing if
Archaeophyte or
NeophyteArchaeophyte Doubtful Native 15
Economic value
Crop category No uses Other
usesOrnamental Aromatic and
medicinesIndustrial Forestry Fodder/
forageFood 20
(includes
all sub-
criteria) Traditional product Without – – – – – – With
Included in national
statisticsNot included – – – – – – Included
Included in national
catalogue
of varietiesNot included – – – – – Included
Ethnobotanical value
(# ethnobotanical
uses)No known uses 1–2 3–4 5–6 7–8 9–10 11–12 13–15 10
Threatened status
NE EX DD LC NT VU EN CR 15
Conservation status
In situ (active) With
conservation
projects– – – – – – No conservation
projects10 (both in
situ and
ex situ)
Ex situ Conserved in
Genebanks– – – – – – Not conserved in
Genebanks
Legislation
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Table 2continuedCriteria PSP scoresPSPW
weight
(%) 0123 4 567
Habitat’s Directive
(92/43/EEC)Not listed – – – Not priority sp. Annex II or
IV or both Annex V– – Priority sp. Annex
II or IV or both,
Annex V7.5
Bern Convention:
Appendix 1 (1979)Not listed – – – – – – Listed
Council of Europe
(1977,1983)Not listed – – – – – – Listed in Council
of Europe1977
or1983
Other international
legislationNot listed – – – – – – Listed
Portuguese legislation Not listed – – – – – – Listed
Global distribution
No data Europe/
WorldMediterranean Iberian
Peninsula?North
Africa?1 countryIberian Peninsula
?North AfricaIberian
Peninsula
?1 countryIberian
PeninsulaPortugal 15
National distribution
No data 11–9
reg.8–6 reg. 5 reg. 4 reg. 3 reg. 2 reg. 1 reg. 7.5
Reg.administrative regions
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The PSPW is very similar to the PSP with the difference that to each criterion a
particular weight is given (Table2).
The CRS uses individual criteria ranking positions (not scores as in PSP) (level 1 in
Table3), which are then combined in order to obtain a compound rank for each of the
species and for each of the major criteria (level 2 in Table3). Three major criteria (eco-
nomic value/ethnobotanical value, threatened status and global distribution) were com-
bined in different orders of importance in order to see how different the results could be
(Table4).
The BRS is based on a series of Yes/No questions (level 3 in Table3). A ”Yes” answer
is always higher priority than a ”No” answer. To each species a Yes/No is given according
to major criteria and a ranking is performed taking into account this questions (see
Table3). Like CRS, the economic value/ethnobotanical value, threatened status and global
distribution criteria were combined in different order of importance (Table4).
The methodology nally used
Each of these methods gave a species list ordered by importance. Note that for both CRS
and BRS, three types of ranking were used (see Table4). The top 50 species were obtained
for each method: PSP, PSPW, CRS (CRS1, CRS2, and CRS3) and BRS (BRS1, BRS2,
BRS3). The number of times each top 50 taxon occurred in the different sub lists was
recorded. In the CWR analysis, the priority species were those that occurred in four or
more lists (Fig.1). The WHP analysis resulted in a very high number of taxa occurring in
four or more lists, so these priorities were further shortened by selecting those that occurred
only in seven or eight methods. The percentage of overlap among the list of priority taxa
obtained with each individual procedure as well as when combined, was estimated in order
to test and evaluate the level of subjectivity inherent to each method and to conclude which
approach gave more reliable results.
Results
Methodological approaches
The use of different methods of combining the data sets generated different lists of priority
taxa for both CWR and WHP. The level of overlap among all procedures was obtained in
order to evaluate the level of subjectivity of using a particular method and to determine
which method gave the most consistent results (Tables5,6). A similar pattern regarding
the overlap among different methods was observed in both CWR and WHP. In general,
whenever the overlap percentage was higher in WHP it was also higher in CWR although
the order of magnitude was quite different. The highest level of overlap occurred between
BRS2/BRS3 (40%), PSP/PSPW (38%) and BRS1/BRS2 (36%) in CWR, and among
CRS3/BRS3 (100%), followed by PSP/PSPW (80%) and BRS1/BRS2 (79%) in WHP. The
analysis of the three types of CRS (Table4) showed only a small percentage of overlap
(1, 2 and 9% in CWR, and 9, 13 and 17% in WHP) emphasizing the fact that only one
criterion can change the results. On the other hand, the differences among the BRS
(Table4) are higher with overlap values of 23, 36 and 40% in CWR and 71, 75 and 79% in
WHP. The comparison between the ?nal list of priorities which was obtained by combining
the top 50 species from each method and each method individually, showed that the results
attained with BRS2 and BRS1 are the most similar to the ?nal result with 29 and 27% of
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Table 3Different types of rankings performed using the criteria at levels 1, 2 and 3
) S R B ( 3 l e v e
L ) S R C ( 2 l e v
e L 1 l e v e L a i r
e t
i r c –
b u
S
a i r e t i r C
ECONOMIC VALUE g n i k n a r l a u d i v i d n I y r o g e
t a c p o r C
? Economic value
ranking Any economic value? (Y/N)
” ” )
( n o i t c u d o r P
” ” ) s n o t (
n o i t c u d o r P ” ” ) a h ( e c a f r u S ” ”
s e
i t
e i r a v n w o r g #
” ”
s t c u
d o
r p l a
n o i
t i d a r T
Included in national statistics “”
) N / Y ( ? e v i t a N g n i k n a r s
u t a t s e v i t a N s u t a t s e v i t a N S
U T A T
S E V I T A N
ETHNOBOTANICAL
VALUE – g n i k n a r e u l a v l a c i n a t o b o n h t E s e s u l a c i n a t o b o n h t ETHREATENED STATUS Threatened st g n
i k n
a r
s
u t a t
s d e n e t a e r h T s u
t aAny threat category (CR, EN, VU)?
(Y/N) CONSERVATION STATUS In situ g
n i k n a r l
a u d i v i
d n I
? Conservation status
ranking Being conserved? (Y/N)
Ex situ ” ”
LEGISLATION ” ” e
v i t c e r i
D s ‘ t a
t i b
a H
? Legislation ranking Affected by any legislation? (Y/N)
” ” Bern Convention ” ” l i c n u o C o r u E
Other international legislation “”

” n
o i
t a l
s i
g e l
l a
n o
i t a
N
DISTRIBUTION Global Distribution Ranking n o i t u
b i r t
s i d l a b o l G
National Distribution Ranking n o i
t u b i r
t s
i d l a n o i
t a N
?: sum, Y: yes, N: no, CR: critically endangered, EN: endangered, VU: vulnearable
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overlap in CWR, and with CRS3 and BRS3 both with 38% of overlap in WHP. On the
other hand, CRS1 was the method that showed fewer similarities both in CWR and WHP
with only 9 and 11% of overlap, respectively.
Threatened
status
Legislation
National
distribution
Global
distribution
20 PRIORITY CWR and 18 PRIORITY WHP
Point scoring
procedure
(PSP)Point scoring
procedure with
weighting
(PSPW) Compound ranking
system
(CRS1, CRS2, CR3) Binomial ranking
system
(BRS1, BRS2, BRS3)
Portuguese CWR and WHP inventory
(www.jb.ul.pt)
5O TOP SPECIES
Species occurring in most methods
Economic
valuea
In situ
conservation
Ex situ
conservation
Ethnobotanical
usesa
Fig. 1Methodology used for establishing conservation priorities for CWR and WHP in Portugal.aEconomic value used only in the CWR analysis, ethnobotanical value used only in the WHP analysis
Table 4Different procedures using the CRS and BRS
Order of importance CRS1 CRS2 CRS3 BRS1 BRS2 BRS3
N
aNaNaNNN
First E/Et TaGaETG
Second TaE/Et E/Et T E E
Third GaGaTaGGT
Fourth C C C C C C
Fifth Nt
aNtaNtaNt Nt Nt
Sixth L L L L L L
Nnative status,Eeconomic value,Tthreatened status,Gglobal distribution,Cconservation status,Et
ethnobotanical value,Ntnational distribution,Llegislation
aLevel 1 data
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Table7summarises the main advantages, limitations and common features of the
priority setting schemes used in this exercise. They are mainly related to subjectivity,
?exibility of the systems and the way criteria are employed, which has also been
emphasised by Ray et al. (2005).
Priority CWR for active conservation
The methodology used here combined 4 different methods (with variants) (Table7) which
aimed at taking account of the subjectivity when prioritising species. Twenty CWR were
identi?ed as priorities for conservation in Portugal. Within this group of priority taxa,
D. laricifoliussubsp.mariziiis listed in seven methods (all except CRS1) representing the
species with the highest conservation value. These are followed byAllium pruinatumvar.
bulbiferum,Allium schmitzii,D. cintranussubsp.cintranus,Festuca brigantinaandVicia
vicioideswhich are listed in six methods (Table8). Basic information regarding the taxa
global distribution, legislation, and threat category (according to IUCN2001; see Magos
Brehm et al.2008b; Magos Brehm2009) are summarised in Table9.
Table 5Matrix with the overlapping percentages between methods and between the ?nal list of priority
CWR (by combining the different methods) and the result obtained with each method
CWR PSP PSPW CRS1 CRS2 CRS3 BRS1 BRS2 BRS3
PSP 100 – – – – – – –
PSPW38100 ––––––
CRS1 9 19 100 – – – – –
CRS2 15 5 1 100 – – – –
CRS3 8 6 2 9 100 – – –
BRS1 12 10 6 19 19 100 – –
BRS2 23 7 4 26 1036100 –
BRS3 25 6 2 11 26 2340100
Final 21 17 9 20 23 27 29 25
The highest values inbold
Table 6Matrix with the overlapping percentages between methods and between the ?nal list of priority
WHP (by combining the different methods) and the result obtained with each method
WHP PSP PSPW CRS1 CRS2 CRS3 BRS1 BRS2 BRS3
PSP 100 – – – – – – –
PSPW80100 ––––––
CRS1 18 15 100 – – – – –
CRS2 38 40 13 100 – – – –
CRS3 43 46 9 17 100 – – –
BRS1 485992971100 – –
BRS2 496092875 79100 –
BRS3 43 46 9 1710071 75100
Final 33 37 11 23 38 37 36 38
The highest values frombold,bold italicsanditalics; the lowest values initalics
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Priority WHP for active conservation
Eighteen WHP were identi?ed as conservation priorities in Portugal.Digitalis purpurea
susp.heywoodiiis the taxon with the highest priority conservation value once is listed in all
eight methods (Table10). All the remaining seventeen species are listed in seven methods.
These include threeNarcissusand sixThymusspecies, among others. See Table11for more
information on ethnobotanical uses, global distribution, legislation and threat category.
Discussion and conclusions
There is no single procedure for developing effective biodiversity conservation priorities.
The priority setting process will vary between countries, according to the available
information, local perceptions and development objectives (UNEP1995). Here, we pro-
pose a methodology to assign conservation priorities to CWR and WHP and illustrate the
methodology using the Portuguese CWR and WHP inventory. We believe it can be used or
adapted to assist in species’ prioritisation for socio-economically important plant species at
national level in other countries.
Different criteria re?ecting the most relevant aspects of target taxa were used and
different prioritisation methods were applied. The use of variants of both CRS and BRS
Table 7Differences between the different methods of prioritisation
Method In common Constraints Advantages
Point scoring
procedure
(PSP)
Multiple criteria
Time consuming
(gather the
data?format the
database)
Transparent
Excel spreadsheet/
access databaseStatic (absolute scores)
Subjective (scores)
Each criterion
contributes the same
”importance” to the
?nal score
Species can have the
same score but for
very different reasonsPragmatic
Point scoring
procedure with
weighting
(PSPW)Static
Subjective
(scores?weight of
each criterion)
Species can have the
same score but for
very different reasonsPragmatic
Compound
ranking system
(CRS)More complex
Sensitive to lack of data
Different order of
importance among
criteriaEasy: to query (once the data is in the
database), to include a wider range
of criteria, to update whenever new
data are gathered
Flexible and adaptable to different
users’ needs (different levels)
Enables setting priorities at different
levels of knowledge
Binomial ranking
system (BRS)Sensitive to lack of data
Different order of
importance among
criteriaEasy: to query, to include a wider
range of criteria, to update
Flexible and adaptable
Pragmatic
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allowed slight changes in the relative importance of the criteria. The results obtained here
highlight that a single criterion or the use of different methods may change greatly the
results. For this reason, the results obtained with the four different methods (with variants)
were combined in the ?nal methodology in order to overcome subjectivity inherent to the
methodologies and criteria. As a ?nal result a list of 20 priority CWR and 18 WHP for
conservation in Portugal was obtained. From all the methods used in the ?nal methodol-
ogy, none showed a high level of similarity between individual results and the ?nal list
obtained by combining all methods. This result emphasis the relatively high degree of
subjectivity associated with the use of a single method of prioritisation and the need of
reducing it in order to obtain reliable results. This exercise allowed us to test and under-
stand different ways of setting conservation priorities at national level. This is the ?rst
prioritisation study for CWR and WHP to be applied to the Portuguese ?ora, but also where
a comparison and discussion is made of the different prioritisation schemes for any ?ora.
The methodology presented here is reproducible and transparent, and makes full use of
relevant and available information. As underlined by UNEP (1995) species-based methods
Table 8List of the 20 priority CWR for active conservation in Portugal obtained using the methodology
combining four different priority setting methods (with variants)
Taxa PSP PSPW CRS1 CRS2 CRS3 BRS1 BRS2 BRS3 #
Methods
Dianthus laricifoliusBoiss. ; Reut.
subsp.marizii(Samp.) FrancoXX – XXXXX7
Allium pruinatumSprengel var.
bulbiferumCout.XX X – X X – X 6
Allium schmitziiCout. X X X – X X – X 6
Dianthus cintranusBoiss. ; Reut.
subsp.cintranusX– – XXXXX6
Festuca brigantina(Markgr.-
Dannenb.) Markgr.-Dannenb.XX – XX– XX6
Vicia vicioides(Desf.) Cout. X X X X – X X – 6
Dianthus cintranusBoiss. ; Reut.
subsp.barbatusR. Fern. ; Franco–– – XXXXX5
Festuca henriquesiiHackel X X – – X – X X 5
Narcissus fernandesiiG. Pedro – – – X X X X X 5
Narcissus scaberulusHenriq. – – – X X X X X 5
Vicia onobrychioidesL. X X X – – X X – 5
Vicia orobusDC. X X X – – X X – 5
Allium victorialisL. – X X – – X X – 4
Daucus carotaL. subsp.halophilus
(Brot.) A. Pujadas–X – – XX– X4
Epilobium angustifoliumL. X – – X – X X – 4
Herniaria algarvicaChaudhri X – – X – – X X 4
Plantago algarbiensisSamp. – – – X X – X X 4
Plantago almogravensisFranco – – – X X – X X 4
Quercus canariensisWilld. X – – X – X X – 4
Trifolium arvenseL. var.gracile
(Thuill.) DC.X– – – XX– X4
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Table 9Information on global distribution, legislation and threat assessment of the priority CWR for conservation in Portugal
Taxa Global distribution
a
Legislation Threat assessment
b
Allium pruinatumSprengel var.
bulbiferumCout.Portugal None Data de?cient
Allium schmitziiCout. Portugal Council of Europe (1977,1983) Endangered
Allium victorialisL. Widely spread in the World extending from
United States of America to Europe and
Eastern AsiaNone Vulnerable
Daucus carotaL. subsp.
halophilus(Brot.) A. PujadasPortugal None Data de?cient
Dianthus cintranusBoiss. &
Reut. subsp.barbatusR. Fern.
& FrancoPortugal None Endangered
Dianthus cintranusBoiss. &
Reut. subsp.cintranusPortugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b)Endangered
Dianthus laricifoliusBoiss. &
Reut. subsp.marizii(Samp.)
FrancoPortugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b); Council of Europe (1983)Endangered
Epilobium angustifoliumL. Temperate and cold regions of the Northern
hemisphereNone Critically endangered
Festuca brigantina(Markgr.-
Dannenb.) Markgr.-Dannenb.Iberian Peninsula Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b); Council of Europe (1977,1983)Endangered
Festuca henriquesiiHackel Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b); Council of Europe (1977,1983)Vulnerable
Herniaria algarvicaChaudhri Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b); Council of Europe (1983); Council Decision
82/72/EEC (Bern Convention)—Appendix I (1979)Critically endangered
Narcissus fernandesiiG. Pedro Iberian Peninsula Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b)Endangered
Narcissus scaberulusHenriq. Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b); Council of Europe (1983); Council Decision
82/72/EEC (Bern Convention)—Appendix I (1979)Endangered
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Table 9continued
Taxa Global distribution
a
Legislation Threat assessment
b
Plantago algarbiensisSamp. Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b)Endangered
Plantago almogravensisFranco Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and
IV (b)Critically endangered
Quercus canariensisWilld. Iberian Peninsula and North of Africa None Endangered
Trifolium arvenseL. var.gracile
(Thuill.) DC.Portugal None Data de?cient
Vicia onobrychioidesL. Europe and North Africa None Vulnerable
Vicia orobusDC. Europe and North Africa None Data de?cient
Vicia vicioides(Desf.) Cout. Iberian Peninsula and North Africa None Critically endangeredaSee Franco (1971,1990), Parker (1981), Dray (1985), Bernal et al. (1990), Chaudhri (1990), Nieto Feliner (1997), Romero Zarco (1999), Mun˜
oz Rodr?´
guez et al. (2000),
Pujadas Salva`
(2003), Euro?Med PlantBase (2005), GBIF (nd), Legume Web (nd)bSee Magos Brehm et al. (2008b) and Magos Brehm (2009)
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are usually severely constrained by inadequate information. Carter et al. (2000) also
emphasises that species prioritisation is a critical component of the conservation planning
process, and thus prioritisation results must re?ect the best scienti?c information available.
Moreover, the criteria used re?ect the majority of categories of criteria suggested by other
authors. Additionally, the intrinsic subjectivity of choosing a particular method was greatly
reduced by using different methods and ?nally combining them.
Species prioritisation should be a dynamic process, so it is advisable that the priorities
be re-evaluated and re?ned when more detailed information become available. The criteria
that can be considered include: overall status, trends, species and area management,
threats, genepool, genetic diversity, genetic distinctiveness and phylogenetic distance, and
relative costs of conservation, among others. The degree to which a CWR is related to its
cultivated taxon (gene pool concept by Harlan and de Wet1971) is an important criterion
to take into account since the ultimate aim of conserving CWR is to ensure that suf?cient
genetic diversity is available for utilisation in crop breeding. Within each crop gene pool,
Table 10List of the 18 priority WHP for active conservation in Portugal obtained using the methodology
combining four different priority setting methods (with variants)
Taxa PSP PSPW CRS1 CRS2 CRS3 BRS1 BRS2 BRS3 #
Methods
Digitalis purpureaL. subsp.
heywoodiiP. & M. SilvaXX XXXXXX8
Chamaespartium tridentatum(L.)
P. E. GibbsXX X– XXXX7
Euphrasia mendoncaeSamp. X X – X X X X X 7
Fumaria ofcinalisL. subsp.
ofcinalisXX X– XXXX7
Halimium lasianthum(Lam.) Spach
subsp.alyssoides(Lam.) GreuterXX X– XXXX7
Jonopsidium acauleDesf. (Rchb.) X X – X X X X X 7
Lavandula pedunculata(Miller) Cav.
subsp.sampaiana(Rozeira) FrancoXX X– XXXX7
Narcissus cyclamineusDC. XX – XXXXX7
Narcissus fernandesiiG. Pedro X X – X X X X X 7
Narcissus pseudonarcissusL. subsp.
nobilis(Haw.) A. FernandesXX – XXXXX7
Rhododendron ponticumL. subsp.
baeticum(Boiss. & Reuter)
Hand.-Mazz.XX – XXXXX7
Thymus camphoratusHoffmanns.
& LinkXX – XXXXX7
Thymus capitellatus(L.) Hoffmanns.
& LinkXX – XXXXX7
Thymus carnosusBoiss. X X – X X X X X 7
Thymus cephalotosL. XX – XXXXX7
Thymus zygisL. subsp.sylvestris
(Hoffmanns. & Link.) Cout.XX X– XXXX7
Thymus zygisL. subsp.zygisXX X– XXXX7
Ulex densusWelw. ex Webb. X X – X X X X X 7
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Table 11Information on ethnobotanical uses, global distribution, legislation and threat assessment of the priority WHP for conservation in Portugal
Taxa Ethnobotanical uses Global distribution
a
Legislation Threat assessment
b
Chamaespartium tridentatum(L.) P. E.
GibbsM, F, H, A, C, Fi, Iberian Peninsula None Not evaluated
Digitalis purpureaL. subsp.heywoodiiP. ;
M. SilvaM Portugal None Data de?cient
Euphrasia mendoncaeSamp. M Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendix V Extinct?
Fumaria ofcinalisL. subsp.ofcinalisM, R, Re, Fd, P Iberian Peninsula None Not evaluated
Halimium lasianthum(Lam.) Spach subsp.
alyssoides(Lam.) GreuterF, R, Fi, Fd Iberian Peninsula?France None Not evaluated
Jonopsidium acauleDesf. (Rchb.) M Portugal?North Africa None Data de?cient
Lavandula pedunculata(Miller) Cav. subsp.
sampaiana(Rozeira) FrancoM, H, R, A, Re, C Iberian Peninsula None Not evaluated
Narcissus cyclamineusDC. Or Iberian Peninsula Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices
II (b) and IV (b)Endangered
Narcissus fernandesiiG. Pedro Or Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices
II (b) and IV (b)Endangered
Narcissus pseudonarcissusL. subsp.nobilis
(Haw.) A. FernandesM, Or Iberian Peninsula Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices
II (b) and IV (b)Data de?cient
Rhododendron ponticumL. subsp.baeticum
(Boiss. ; Reuter) Hand.-Mazz.P Iberian Peninsula None Endangered
Thymus camphoratusHoffmanns. ; Link A Portugal Priority species in the Council Directive 92/
43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and IV (b);
Council of Europe (1977,1983) Council
Decision 82/72/EEC (Bern Convention)—
Appendix I (1979)Vulnerable
Thymus capitellatus(L.) Hoffmanns. ; Link M, A Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendix
IV (b); Council of Europe (1977,1983)Data de?cient
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Table 11continued
Taxa Ethnobotanical uses Global distribution
a
Legislation Threat assessment
b
Thymus carnosusBoiss. A, C Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendices
II (b) and IV (b); Council of Europe (1977,
1983) Council Decision 82/72/EEC (Bern
Convention)—Appendix I (1979)Vulnerable
Thymus cephalotosL. M, A, Ot Portugal Priority species in the Council Directive 92/
43/EEC—Appendices II (b) and IV (b);
Council of Europe (1977,1983) Council
Decision 82/72/EEC (Bern Convention)—
Appendix I (1979)Vulnerable
Thymus zygisL. subsp.sylvestris
(Hoffmanns. & Link.) Cout.M, A, C Iberian Peninsula None Not evaluated
Thymus zygisL. subsp.zygisM, A, C Iberian Peninsula None Not evaluated
Ulex densusWelw. ex Webb. M, Ot Portugal Council Directive 92/43/EEC—Appendix V;
Council of Europe (1977,1983)Vulnerable
Ethnobotanical uses codes:Aaromatic,Ccondiment,Ffood,Fdforage and fodder,Fi?bres and materials,Hto produce honey,Mmedicinal,Orornamental,Otother uses,P
poison/toxic,Rreligious and magic uses,RerepelentaParker (1981), Dray (1985), Lide´
n(1986), Morales (1993), Villar (1993), Cubas (1999), Romero Zarco (1999), Euro?Med PlantBase (2005)bSee Magos Brehm et al. (2008b) and Magos Brehm (2009)
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the wild relatives that are most closely related to the crop are generally given priority over
the more distantly related species because they are easily used in crop improvement using
conventional breeding methods (Maxted et al.1997). Genetic distinctiveness and phy-
logeny diversity have been referred as important criteria to consider in prioritisation
exercises (e.g. Linder1995; Maxted et al.1997). In theory, priorities should be assigned to
those taxa that are evolutionarily complementary so as much diversity as possible is
conserved (Maxted et al.1997). Equally relevant is genetic diversity information; it allows
to know not only the species most threatened by genetic erosion, but also to decide where
exactly they should be conserved. In fact, once the priority species are identi?ed it is
advisable to carry out a detailed genetic diversity study in order to obtain information that
can assist conservation managers to target ex situ and in situ conservation actions. Despite
the relevance of these types of information, it is not systematically available for the
majority of species and thus not used here. Prioritisation exercises are time consuming and
re-evaluation would only make sense when a considerable amount of new information is
available.
Whatever methodology is used, setting priorities is a fundamental step in conserving all
species and ecosystems. It informs planners, resources managers, and local people about
how important biological diversity may be to national development objectives. The
involvement of local policy makers and reserve managers in determining how these species
can be preserved is the next step to effective conservation.
Finally, the methodology proposed here aims to provide a list of priority species for
conservation in Portugal as well as to overcome problems concerning data availability and
subjectivity of procedures. More importantly, it focuses on the development and adjust-
ment of species prioritisation methodologies at national level. Ultimately, as emphasized
by UNEP (1995), the success of any prioritisation method will directly depend on its
implementation (in the form of conservation activities) and on the support of biodiversity
stakeholders.
AcknowledgementsJoana Magos Brehm was ?nanced by the Fundac¸a˜
o para a Cieˆ
ncia e Tecnologia
(FCT, Portugal) with the grant number SFRH/BD/16508/2004.
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