About this Research Topic
Biodiversity is in decline. The combined effects of habitat destruction and the rapid acceleration of
climate change have rendered many species at risk of extinction by the end of the 21st century. As
plants are both primary producers and frequently key taxa involved in mutualisms with other
organisms, such as fungi, pollinators, dispersers, and herbivores, investigations of threats facing
plant taxa are central in efforts to reduce species loss. Despite this, a recent study demonstrated that
plant taxa that are morphologically attractive to humans tend to be studied more frequently by
scientists. To address the resulting bias in the scientific literature, we propose a Research Topic
focused on rare taxa that are understudied and overlooked, be they narrow-range endemics or taxa
listed on IUCN Red Lists, and that are not necessarily morphologically attractive (i.e. have small
stature, produce plain flowers), but nonetheless are of high conservation importance.
This Research Topic will address biases in plant conservation science and will emphasize the latest
advances in the field of plant conservation biology focused on previously understudied plant taxa.
The Research Topic will welcome a mix of primary research papers, reviews, and perspectives on
understudied plant species of both national and international conservation importance. Papers in this
Research Topic will cover different methodological and theoretical perspectives, from plant
conservation genetics to interactions with pollinators, statistical modelling, and microbial and
fungal ecology, in situ and ex situ conservation, to the role of stakeholders in rare plant protection.
In this way, the resulting published articles will contribute significantly to fill the gap between well-studied plant taxa and groups and other plant taxa that have until now been overlooked and understudied.
The scope of this Research Topic is to fill the conservation gap for previously understudied plants
or to highlight conservation biases even in well studied groups in which common taxa are more
studied than rare taxa that may be of high conservation importance. We are particularly interested in
studies that investigate the ecology of overlooked and understudied plant taxa and studies of rare
understudied plants that may directly inform conservation practitioners.
Potential studies will include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
- conservation biases in understudied plants
- propagation techniques
- restoration ecology and translocation of rare, understudied plants
- conservation genetics and genomics
- pollination ecology and phenology
- microbial and fungal interactions and ecology
- impacts of climate change on understudied rare plants
- the role of stakeholders and management in conservation of previously understudied rare plants.
Keywords: conservation biases, population ecology, rare plants, ecological restoration, climate change, symbiotic interactions
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.