IUCN Red List protects avian genetic diversity

Elisabetta Canteri, Damien Fordham, Sen Li, Peter Hosner, Carsten Rahbek & David Nogues-Bravo
Despite well-established links between low genetic diversity and extinction processes, intra-specific genetic diversity is rarely considered in global conservation assessments, potentially leading to biased estimates of species’ extinction risk. We show that birds ranked as “threatened” by the IUCN Red List have lower intra-specific genetic diversity than “non-threatened” species, confirming that threat criteria, used by the IUCN, effectively protect genetically depleted species. However, some “non-threatened” species harbour low levels of genetic diversity, indicating an undetected...
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