Global conservation policy and action has largely neglected protecting and monitoring genetic diversity - one of the three main pillars of biodiversity. Genetic diversity (diversity within species) underlies species’ adaptation and survival, ecosystem resilience, and societal innovation. The low priority given to genetic diversity has largely been due to (i) knowledge gaps in key areas including the importance of genetic diversity and the trends in genetic diversity change, (ii) perceived high expense, low availability, and scattered nature of genetic data, and (iii) complicated concepts and information that are inaccessible to policy makers. However, numerous recent advances in knowledge, technology, databases, practice, and capacity have now set the stage for better integration of genetic diversity in policy instruments and conservation efforts. We review these developments and explore how they can support improved consideration of genetic diversity in global conservation policy commitments and enable countries to monitor, report on, and take action to maintain or restore genetic diversity.
- genetic diversity