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Genetic erosion: no longer just an agricultural issue


Genetic considerations pertaining to planting projects usually emphasize locally adapted source material. However, the amount of genetic diversity in the plant materials is important as well. Genetic erosion is the loss of genetic diversity-often magnified or accelerated by human activities. In native plant populations, genetic erosion results from habitat loss and fragmentation, but it also can result from a narrow genetic base in the original collections or by practices that reduce genetic diversity. Although species-specific guidelines are not available, managers can minimize the risk of genetic erosion by being familiar with the biology of the affected species (including breeding system, mode of reproduction, and pattern of genetic diversity). Narrowly based genetic collections should be avoided, providers of plant materials for revegetation projects should offer information on their collection methods, and nursery managers should endeavor to minimize diversity losses at all stages of nursery culture.

Issue & Pages:

Fall 2004 Pages: 112-122

Article Download:

5-2NPJ112-122.pdf (PDF document)


  • Deborah L Rogers


genetic diversity, reforestation, restoration, revegetation, source materials, natural areas, conservation

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