IUCN SSC Phylogenetic Diversity Task Force

On the EDGE Conservation is proud to host and support the Phylogenetic Diversity Task Force (PDTF), that sits within the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). The PDTF is one of ~60 Specialist Groups and Task Forces within the IUCN SSC that cover all aspects of global biodiversity and conservation.

Based on decades of scientific research, prioritising EDGE species in conservation efforts is a practical way to conserve phylogenetic diversity. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) measures the evolutionary history captured by a set of species. The conservation of PD conserves feature diversity and future options for humanity. PD needs to be incorporated in both species-focused and spatial conservation strategies to avoid the impending loss of billions of years of evolutionary history. One way to effectively do this is by conserving EDGE species as a complementary conservation approach.

The Phylogenetic Diversity Task Force was founded to address this need. Chaired by On the EDGE Conservation’s Dr. Nisha Owen, the task force comprises academics, policy-workers, business and conservation practitioners that provide leadership and guidance on the inclusion of phylogenetic diversity in conservation strategies. The PDTF aims to produce policy submissions, guidance documents, and create a database of stories of unanticipated benefits from features of species.

Established in 2019, the PDTF’s key activities to date have included: a submission to the Convention on Biological Diversity proposing the inclusion of PD and EDGE in the post2020 global biodiversity framework; a symposium on ‘Prioritising phylogenetic diversity in conservation: philosophy, theory and practice’, at the 2019 International Congress on Conservation Biology; and an upcoming session at the 2020 IUCN World Conservation Congress.