J Syst Evol

• Research Articles •    

Geographic distribution, conservation effectiveness, and gaps for national key protected wild plants in China

Fei Qin1,2†, Xiao‐Xia Zhang1,2†, Yun‐Feng Huang3, Lei Wu4, Wei‐Bin Xu5, Tian‐Tian Xue1,2, Wen‐Di Zhang1,2, Qin Liu1,4, Jiang‐Hong Yu1,6, Jie‐Jing Gao1,7, Rainer W. Bussmann8,9*, Juan Wang10*, and Sheng‐Xiang Yu1,2*   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3 Guangxi Institute of Traditional Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nanning 530022, China
    4 College of Forestry, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, China
    5 Guangxi Key Laboratory of Plant Conservation and Restoration Ecology in Karst Terrain, Guangxi Institute of Botany, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin 541006, Guangxi, China
    6 College of Forestry, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
    7 School of Life Science, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang 550025, China
    8 Department of Ethnobotany, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University, Tbilisi 0105, Georgia
    9 Department of Botany, State Museum of Natural History, Karlsruhe 76133, Germany
    10College of Tourism and Urban‐Rural Planning, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China

    These authors contributed equally to this study.
    *Authors for correspondence. Sheng‐Xiang Yu. E‐mail: yushengxiang@ibcas.ac.cn; Juan Wang. E‐mail: Id.wangjuan@foxmail.com; Rainer W. Bussmann. E‐mail: rainer.bussmann@iliauni.edu.ge
  • Received:2022-04-08 Accepted:2022-11-30 Online:2022-12-07


National key protected wild plants (NKPWPs) are species with important conservation value based on genetics, ecology, culture, and/or scientific research, which are also confronted with serious threats. However, their geographical distribution patterns and conservation status remain unclear. In this study, we compiled 1032 species of NKPWPs. We measured the diversity to identify hotspots of NKPWPs based on species richness, weighted range size rarity and a complementarity-based analysis. Comparing the distribution and hotspots of NKPWPs with the coverage of Chinese nature reserves (NRs), we assessed conservation effectiveness and identified conservation gaps. The results identified 13 diversity hotspots; only 9.5% of them were covered by NRs with >30% of the grid cell area, and even 19.5% were not covered at all by NRs. Overall, 44.7% of NKPWPs were effectively protected by national NRs. Despite this success, 571 species in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangdong, southern Hainan, Taiwan, and northern Xinjiang remain unprotected by NRs. The protected proportion of plants with first-level protection was lower than that of plants with second-level protection. The low overall proportion of protected hotspots indicates that the conservation outlook for NKPWPs is not optimistic. This study identifies priority conservation areas and conservation gaps and provides a scientific reference for the conservation of wild plants in China.

Key words: complementarity, conservation effectiveness, conservation gaps, hotspot, national key protected wild plants, species richness, weighted range size rarity