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Carlos collecting Quercus ×alentejana (Q. faginea × Q. pyrenaica) in northeastern Portugal for his PhD thesis © Carlos Vila-Viçosa
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Plant Focus

Quercus crassipes acorns with inrolled cupule margin
One of the more well-known Mexican oaks in cultivation.

Genetic Diversity and Conservation of Neotropical Oaks

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Hernando Rodríguez Correa

Published May 2019 in International Oaks No. 30: 63–68


Oak species are key elements in a wide variety of ecosystems in the Americas, and are particularly important in Mexico. With at least 161 species, it is an important center of oak diversity in the world. Unfortunately, factors such as the fragmentation and degradation of natural habitats, the modification of environmental conditions due to climate change and the lack of clear environmental policies, are favoring the loss of oak species. Here I present a brief review of genetics and conservation studies of Mexican and Neotropical oaks to illustrate that loss in oak species richness is all the more tragic given the impressive diversity of evolutionary processes and history that hides behind a single Quercus species. Finally, I present a few perspectives on the conservation of Quercus species considering the current situation of the Natural Protected Areas and botanic gardens in Mexico.


Keywords: hybridization, Quercus, gene flow, phylogeography, adaptive strategies


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