Document: Dan Faith keynote ATBC 2012 Bonito Brazil

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Slides from my talk "Phylogeny and the sustainable use of biodiversity" 
Keynote talk at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, June 2012.

The meeting’s theme was “Ecology, Evolution and Sustainable Use of Tropical Biodiversity.”

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Faith D.P. (2012) "Phylogeny and the sustainable use of biodiversity" Abstracts. The 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, June 2012.


Phylogeny and the sustainable use of biodiversity

The ATBC-2012 meeting's thematic focus on sustainable use of biodiversity echoes the increased international attention to sustainable use problems. Examples include IPBES (the inter-governmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services) and the Convention on Biological Diversity’s new 2020 biodiversity targets. Within DIVERSITAS (the international program for multidisciplinary biodiversity research), a core project “bioGENESIS” promotes the important roles of evolutionary biology in achieving conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Through bioGENESIS, we have explored the idea of evolutionary or “evosystem” services. Some services have been provided through evolution operating in the past, and a phylogenetic diversity measure, PD, can help us to quantify these current and potential future benefits derived from the tree of life. Effective sustainable use programs therefore should conserve overall phylogenetic diversity, in addition to the conventional focus on preserving species with known current benefits.

Programs that try to justify biodiversity conservation and sustainable use based only on currently-perceived benefits may fail to effectively preserve future benefits. Recent work has demonstrated that a focus on conservation of currently recognised benefits (such as well-known ecosystem services) can mean a dramatic loss in the capacity for conservation of broader biodiversity values. Avoiding such undesirable “tipping points” may require balancing the conservation of currently-valued species and the conservation of overall phylogenetic diversity (PD). In this way, true “sustainable use” will preserve not only known uses but also the sustained capacity to find other uses, in other species.

Brazil may provide good examples of successful phylogenetically-based sustainable use programs. The Biota-FAPESP Bioprospecta program makes effective use of phylogenies in identifying species with potential biologically active compounds. BIOTA programs may complement these efforts by also conserving overall phylogenetic diversity in the region – so achieving the goal of “sustainable use” by keeping options open for future discovery of useful products in other species.


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