Pearse WD, Chase MW, Crawley MJ, Dolphin K, Fay MF, Joseph JA, Powney G, Preston CD, Rapacciuolo G, Roy DB, and Purvis A

Conservation biologists have only finite resources, and so must prioritise some species over others. The EDGE-listing approach ranks species according to their combined evolutionary distinctiveness and degree of threat, but ignores the uncertainty surrounding both threat and evolutionary distinctiveness. We develop a new family of measures for species, which we name EDAM, that incorporates evolutionary distinctiveness, the magnitude of decline, and the accuracy with which decline can be predicted. Further, we show how the method can be extended to explore phyogenetic uncertainty. Using the vascular plants of Britain as a case study, we find that the various EDAM measures emphasise different species and parts of Britain, and that phylogenetic uncertainty can strongly affect the prioritisation scores of some species.

PLoS ONE 20 e0126524

Keywords: conservation prioritization, evolutionary distinctiveness, threat, decline, uncertainty, British plants