The importance of long-distance dispersal in biodiversity conservation

Authors

  • Ana Trakhtenbrot,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel;
      Correspondence: Ana Trakhtenbrot, Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel. Tel.: 972-2-6585116; Fax: 972-2-6584741; E-mail: tana@pob.huji.ac.il
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  • Ran Nathan,

    1. Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel;
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  • Gad Perry,

    1. Department of Range, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management, Texas Tech University, Box 42125, Lubbock, TX, 79409, USA;
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  • David M. Richardson

    1. Institute for Plant Conservation, Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa; and
    2. Centre for Invasion Biology, Science Faculty, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
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Correspondence: Ana Trakhtenbrot, Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel. Tel.: 972-2-6585116; Fax: 972-2-6584741; E-mail: tana@pob.huji.ac.il

ABSTRACT

Dispersal is universally considered important for biodiversity conservation. However, the significance of long- as opposed to short-distance dispersal is insufficiently recognized in the conservation context. Long-distance dispersal (LDD) events, although typically rare, are crucial to population spread and to maintenance of genetic connectivity. The main threats to global biodiversity involve excessive LDD of elements alien to ecosystems and insufficient dispersal of native species, for example, because of habitat fragmentation. In this paper, we attempt to bridge the gap in the treatment of LDD by reviewing the conservation issues for which LDD is most important. We then demonstrate how taking LDD into consideration can improve conservation management decisions.

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