- Regional Consequences of Local Population Demography and Genetics in Relation to Habitat Management in Gentiana pneumonanthe
- Conservation Biology
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
A joint demographic and population genetics stage-based model for a subdivided population was
applied to Gentiana pneumonanthe, an early successional perennial herb, at a regional (metapopulation) scale.
We used numerical simulations to determine the optimal frequency of habitat disturbance (sod cutting) and
the intensity of gene flow among populations of G. pneumonanthe to manage both population viability and
genetic diversity in this species. The simulations showed that even small populations that initially had nearequal
allele frequencies could, if managed properly through sod cutting every 6 to 7 years, sustain their high
genetic variation over the long run without gene flow. The more the allele frequencies in the small populations
are skewed, however, the higher the probability that in the absence of gene flow, some alleles will be lost and
within-population genetic variation will decrease even under proper management. This implies that although
local population dynamics should be the major target for management, regional dynamics become important
when habitat fragmentation and decreased population size lead to the loss of local genetic diversity. The
recommended strategy to improve genetic composition of small populations is the introduction of seeds or
seedlings of nonlocal origin.
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