Landscape genetics: opportunities and challenges for conservation

Authors and Affiliations: 

Janine Bolliger, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, 8903 Birmensdorf


In many parts of the world, human land use is the most important factor shaping landscapes. Many studies have shown a negative effect of intensive land use and management, low landscape heterogeneity and high fragmentation on species with likely detrimental consequences for ecosystems. Thus, conservation management has long recognized landscape and habitat fragmentation as a key topic of concern. Among many methods, landscape genetics offers information on basic questions of high conservation relevance such as how far does an individual/population spread in a larger spatial context, or on how species use landscapes, e.g., which landscape elements are likely corridors or obstacles. Although ten years have passed since the seminal paper in landscape genetics (Manel et al. 2003), the field has only just begun to evaluate the full range of possible analyses and opportunities to delineate management activities which relate to real-world situations. This presentation gives examples how landscape genetics may be efficiently implemented to delineate management actions and identifies challenges which remain to date unsolved.


Manel, S., M. Schwartz, G. Luikart, and P. Taberlet. 2003. Landscape genetics: combining landscape ecology and population genetics. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18:189-197.