Conserving species’ evolutionary potential and history:
opportunities under the new post-2020 global biodiversity framework
Jessica da Silva
Centre for Ecological Genomics and Wildlife Conservation, Department of Zoology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Committee on Evolutionary Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, USA, The Center for Tree Science, The Morton Arboretum, 60532, Lisle, USA
Genetic diversity (GD) and phylogenetic diversity (PD) respectively represent species’ evolutionary potential and history, and support most of the biodiversity benefits to humanity. Yet, these two biodiversity facets have been overlooked in previous biodiversity policies. As the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity plan to meet in December 2022 to agree on a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF), we analyse how GD and PD are considered in this new framework and discuss how this could strengthen their conservation. Although their inclusion could be larger, both GD and PD are currently considered in the first draft of the post-2020 GBF. This represents a significant improvement compared to the CBD strategic plan 2011-2020 and an unprecedented opportunity to bring species’ evolutionary potential and history to the core of public biodiversity policies. We urge the scientific community to leverage this opportunity to actually improve the conservation of species’ evolutionary potential and history.