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Threatened medicinal plants in China: distributions and conservation priorities
Chi, X.; Zhang, Z.; Xu, X.; Zhang, X.; Zhao, Z.; Liu, Y.; Wang, Q.; Wang, H.; Li, Y.; Yang, G.; Guo, L.; Tang, Z.; Huang, L. (2017). Threatened medicinal plants in China: distributions and conservation priorities. Biol. Conserv. 210(Part A): 89-95.
In: Biological Conservation. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0006-3207; e-ISSN 1873-2917, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Traditional Chinese medicine resources; Complementary algorithm; Top 5% richness algorithm; Conservation gaps; Species richness

Authors  Top 
  • Chi, X.
  • Zhang, Z.
  • Xu, X.
  • Zhang, X.
  • Zhao, Z.
  • Liu, Y.
  • Wang, Q.
  • Wang, H.
  • Li, Y.
  • Yang, G.
  • Guo, L.
  • Tang, Z.
  • Huang, L.

    Medicinal plants are more vulnerable to threats than non-medicinal plants. In China, a large number of medicinal plants are threatened by human activities and climate change, which greatly affect the conservation of species diversity, genetic resources and sustainable development of the traditional Chinese medicine industry. In this study, we established the first database for the distributions of 535 threatened medicinal plant species in China at the county level. Using this database, we explored geographic patterns, identified biodiversity hotspots and determined the conservation gaps for these threatened medicinal plants. Threatened medicinal plants were widely distributed in 1709 counties across the whole country. The species richness was higher in southern than in northern China. Using the “top 5% richness algorithm” and the “complementary algorithm”, we identified 213 counties as biodiversity hotspots for threatened medicinal plants in China. However, based on further conservation gap analysis, we found that 30 hotspot counties were not covered by any type of nature reserve (complete conservation gaps), and 27 more hotspot counties were not covered by national or provincial nature reserves in mainland China. We suggest that new nature reserves should be established for the 30 complete conservation gaps, while range, level or management strategies for the current nature reserves should be improved for the remaining 27 conservation gaps to promote the conservation of threatened medicinal plants in China.

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