In-situ conservation is on-site conservation or the conservation of genetic resources in natural populations of plant or animal species, such as forest genetic resources in natural populations of tree species. It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat, either by protecting or cleaning up the habitat itself, or by defending the species from predators. It is applied to conservation of agricultural biodiversity in agroecosystems by farmers, especially those using unconventional farming practices.
One benefit of in-situ conservation is that it maintains recovering populations in the surrounding where they have developed their distinctive properties. Another is that this strategy helps ensure the ongoing processes of evolution and adaptation within their environments. As a last resort, ex-situ conservation may be used on some or all of the population, when in-situ conservation is too difficult, or impossible.
Wildlife and livestock conservation is mostly based on in situ conservation. This involves the protection of wildlife habitats. Also, sufficiently large reserves are maintained to enable the target species to exist in large numbers. The population size must be sufficient to enable the necessary genetic diversity to survive within the population, so that it has a good chance of continuing to adapt and evolve over time. This reserve size can be calculated for target species by examining the population density in naturally occurring situations. The reserves must then be protected from intrusion or destruction by man, and against other catastrophes.
In agriculture, in situ conservation techniques are an effective way to improve, maintain, and use traditional or native varieties of agricultural crops. Such methodologies link the positive output of scientific research with farmers' experience and field work.
First, the accessions of a variety stored at a germplasm bank and those of the same variety multiplied by farmers are jointly tested in the producers field and in the laboratory, under different situations and stresses. Thus, the scientific knowledge about the production characteristics of the native varieties is enhanced. Later, the best tested accessions are crossed, mixed, and multiplied under replicable situations. At last, these improved accessions are supplied to the producers. Thus, farmers are enabled to crop improved selections of their own varieties, instead of being lured to substitute their own varieties with commercial ones or to abandon their crop. This technique of conservation of agricultural biodiversity is more successful in marginal areas, where commercial varieties are not expedient, due to climate and soil fertility constraints. Or where the taste and cooking characteristics of traditional varieties compensate for their lower yields.
- Food plot – the practice of planting crops specifically to support wildlife
- Genetic erosion
- Habitat corridor
- Habitat fragmentation
- Regional Red List
- Restoration ecology
- Wildlife corridor
- G. Avila, L. Guzmán, M. Céspedes 2004. Estrategias para la conservación in situ de razas de maíz boliviano. SINALERC, Mar del Plata
- Scheldeman, X. & van Zonneveld, M. (2010). Training Manual on Spatial Analysis of Plant Diversity and Distribution. Bioversity International.
- In-Situ Conservation, The Convention on Biological Diversity
- Ex-Situ Conservation, The Convention on Biological Diversity
- IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- The Convention on Biological Diversity
- In situ conservation
- The World Wide Fund for Nature
- African Wild Dog Conservancy