Research Article

Fengshui forests conserve genetic diversity: a case study of Phoebe bournei (Hemsl.) Yang in southern China

Published: March 20, 2015
Genet. Mol. Res. 14 (1) : 1986-1993 DOI: 10.4238/2015.March.20.8

Abstract

Fengshui forests (sacred groves) are important in traditional Chinese culture and home to many endangered species. These forests may provide protection for some endangered plant species outside the nature reserves, but little is known about their role in genetic conservation. Using inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers, we compared the genetic diversity of 6 populations of Phoebe bournei (Hemsl.) Yang, a commercially important woody species, which is under second-class national protection and endemic to China. Samples were collected from the nature reserves and Fengshui forests in southern China. Herein, we show that Fengshui forest populations are capable of maintaining some level of genetic diversity. For nature reserve populations, the average NA and NE were 1.58 and 1.39, respectively; and for Fengshui forests, they were 1.39 and 1.12, respectively. For nature reserve populations, Nei’s gene diversity (H) and Shannon’s index (I) were 0.32 and 0.11, respectively; and for Fengshui forests, they were 0.22 and 0.07, respectively. We discuss the reasons for the genetic differences between populations of the Fengshui forests and nature reserves and propose conservation strategies for the Fengshui forest.

Fengshui forests (sacred groves) are important in traditional Chinese culture and home to many endangered species. These forests may provide protection for some endangered plant species outside the nature reserves, but little is known about their role in genetic conservation. Using inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers, we compared the genetic diversity of 6 populations of Phoebe bournei (Hemsl.) Yang, a commercially important woody species, which is under second-class national protection and endemic to China. Samples were collected from the nature reserves and Fengshui forests in southern China. Herein, we show that Fengshui forest populations are capable of maintaining some level of genetic diversity. For nature reserve populations, the average NA and NE were 1.58 and 1.39, respectively; and for Fengshui forests, they were 1.39 and 1.12, respectively. For nature reserve populations, Nei’s gene diversity (H) and Shannon’s index (I) were 0.32 and 0.11, respectively; and for Fengshui forests, they were 0.22 and 0.07, respectively. We discuss the reasons for the genetic differences between populations of the Fengshui forests and nature reserves and propose conservation strategies for the Fengshui forest.

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