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Minimum viable population size: not magic, but necessary


Brook, BW and Bradshaw, CJA and Traill, LW and Frankham, R, Minimum viable population size: not magic, but necessary, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 26, (12) pp. 619-620. ISSN 0169-5347 (2011) [Letter or Note in Journal]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.tree.2011.09.006


We agree with Flather and colleagues that there is no ‘magic number’ or universal threshold around which one can plan for threatened species management to cover all contingencies; neither have we ever claimed so. As Flather and colleagues reiterate, a minimum viable population size [MVP; the abundance above which the probability of extinction (over conservation-relevant timescales) is unacceptably low for any species] is illusory. There is substantial variation in MVP among species and probably across subpopulations for widespread or spatially disjunct species, and there is no obvious ‘decision threshold’, as reviewed by Traill et al. and elsewhere. Yet even with this uncertainty, ignoring MVP because of concerns over its imperfections or risk of misuse, as Flather et al. seem to prefer, would be imprudent.

Item Details

Item Type:Letter or Note in Journal
Keywords:minimum viable population, response, letter
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:116345
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Biological Sciences
Deposited On:2017-05-05
Last Modified:2017-05-05
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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