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A guide to using species trait data in conservation


Gallagher, RV and Butt, N and Carthey, AJR and Tulloch, A and Bland, L and Clulow, S and Newsome, T and Dudaniec, RY and Adams, VM, A guide to using species trait data in conservation, One Earth, 4, (7) pp. 927-936. ISSN 2590-3322 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.oneear.2021.06.013


Species traits have much to offer conservation science. However, the selection and application of trait data in conservation requires rigor to avoid perverse or unexpected outcomes. To guide trait use, we review how traits are applied along the conservation continuum: the progression of conservation actions from assessing risk, to designing and prioritizing actions, to implementation and evaluation. We then provide a framework for their use as proxies for more nuanced empirical data on species and ecosystems. Framework steps include (1) identifying information needs relative to conservation goals, (2) choosing relevant traits using theory and expanding via expert elicitation, and (3) defining and addressing the limits of trait information. Worked examples for contemporary plant and amphibian conservation show how traits should be selected and applied based on theory and/or evidence (rather than data availability or untested assumptions). Finally, we forecast the use of trait data in several conservation applications globally.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biodiversity, conservation planning, effect traits, functional traits, response traits, sensitivity, threat management, threatened species, trait ecology, vulnerability assessment
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Associate Professor Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:145520
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2021-07-25
Last Modified:2021-09-16

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