Abstract # 1166 Event # 16:

Scheduled for Monday, June 26, 2006 02:00 PM-04:00 PM: Session 2 (Princess) Symposium


SYMPOSIUM: Prioritizing Populations for the Conservation of Primate Taxa

M. Leighton1,2
1Great Ape World Heritage Species Project, c/o Carr Foundation, 2 Arrow St., Suite 400, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA, 2Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University
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     For many primate taxa, an array of wild populations remain that might be prioritized for conservation actions and investments. How should conservation scientists, practitioners and donors allocate efforts among these populations? Many conservation investment sites are where scientists initially gained access, where protected areas were designated, or where other conservation values existed. This approach has biased investment towards sites that have historically received attention per se, an illustration of the Concorde fallacy, rather than towards those populations that most accomplish a conservation objective. If the objective is to conserve the genetic and ecological diversity of a species, it is useful to proactively identify and integrate criteria that might form a scientific basis for prioritizing populations in terms of their conservation importance. In addition, delineation of these populations allows monitoring of conservation success and focusing research, policy and funding goals. This symposium will explore how evolutionary ecological criteria (e.g., population size, genetic diversity, metapopulation structure, habitat diversity, geographical distance) and conservation threats (e.g., disease, climate change, hunting, habitat deterioration) affect how populations are prioritized. Papers will examine the application of different factors or criteria, illustrating these with primates from a range of life history and ecological contexts. This endeavor will hopefully identify important research topics as well as the rationale for an expanded array of populations worthy of conservation investment.