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Thresholds for survival: criteria for maintenance of fitness and evolutionary potential.

abstract1 (full description below): Pp. 151-170 in M. E. Soul
Thresholds. PDF/Acrobat file     SoulĂ©, M. E.

The major goal in conservation genetics is the development of criteria for determining the population size (or minimum area) which will provide for the maintenance of fitness and adaptive potential. This in no academic exercise; economic and political forces, relentlessly encroach on the land and the budgets given to conservation programs. Unless concervationists produce sound and defensible criteria for minimal population sizes there will be no rational way to counter these attacks, and all of our efforts to salvage samples of our magnificent large plant and animal species will be wasted. This chapter is an attempt to produce such guidelines.