Rare, fragile species, small populations, and the dilemma of collections

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Abstract

Considerable sums of money are aimed at biodiversity conservation programs at present, and although collection of specimens is necessary for the advancement of taxonomy and systematics, we detected a dilemma between conservation and collection of rare species with small populations. Collecting may act synergistically with other factors to increase the risk of, or even drive species to extinction. We present some examples we believe show the conflict between collecting rare species with a small population and the conservation programs for those species. We also stress the need to review the Minimum Viable Population Size concept as it can be used as a justification for collecting small, rare, and declining population species.

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