Taxonomy and conservation of Vietnam's primates: a review

Authors

  • Mary E. Blair,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, New York
    2. Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
    3. New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, New York, New York
    • Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St, New York, NY 10024
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  • Eleanor J. Sterling,

    1. Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
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  • Martha M. Hurley

    1. Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York
    2. Global Wildlife Conservation, Austin, Texas
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Abstract

Vietnam has the highest number of primate taxa overall (24–27) and the highest number of globally threatened primate taxa (minimum 20) in Mainland Southeast Asia. Conservation management of these species depends in part on resolving taxonomic uncertainties, which remain numerous among the Asian primates. Recent research on genetic, morphological, and acoustic diversity in Vietnam's primates has clarified some of these uncertainties, although a number of significant classification issues still remain. Herein, we summarize and compare the major current taxonomic classifications of Vietnam's primates, discuss recent advances in the context of these taxonomies, and suggest key areas for additional research to best inform conservation efforts in a region crucial to global primate diversity. Among the most important next steps for the conservation of Vietnam's primates is a new consensus list of Asian primates that resolves current differences between major taxonomies, incorporates recent research advances, and recognizes units of diversity at scales below the species-level, whether termed populations, morphs, or subspecies. Priority should be placed on recognizing distinct populations, regardless of the species concept in use, in order to foster the evolutionary processes necessary for primate populations to cope with inevitable environmental changes. The long-term conservation of Vietnam's primates depends not only on an accepted and accurate taxonomy but also on funding for on-the-ground conservation activities, including training, and the continued dedication and leadership of Vietnamese researchers and managers. Am. J. Primatol. 73:1093–1106, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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