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Optimum allocation of conservation funds and choice of conservation programs for a set of African cattle breeds


Although funds for livestock conservation are limited there is little known about the optimal allocation of conservation funds. A new algorithm was used to allocate Mio US$ 1, 2, 3, 5 or unlimited funds, discounted over 50 years, on 23 African cattle breeds conserved with four different possible conservation programs. Additionally, Mio US$ 1 was preferably allocated to breeds with special traits. The conceptional in situ conservation programs strongly involve breeders and give them part of the responsibility for the conservation of the breed. Therefore, the pure in situ conservation was more efficient than cryoconservation or combined in situ and cryoconservation. The average annual discounted conservation cost for a breed can be as low as US$ 1000 to US$ 4400 depending on the design of the conservation program and the economic situation of the country of conservation. The choice of the breeds and the optimal conservation program and the amount of money allocated to each breed depend on many factors such as the amount of funds available, the conservation potential of each breed, the effects of the conservation program as well as its cost. With Mio US$ 1, 64% of the present diversity could be maintained over 50 years, which is 13% more than would be maintained if no conservation measures were implemented. Special traits could be conserved with a rather small amount of the total funds. Diversity can not be conserved completely, not even with unlimited funds. A maximum of 92% of the present diversity could be conserved with Mio US$ 10, leaving 8% of the diversity to unpredictable happenings. The suggested algorithm proved to be useful for optimal allocation of conservation funds. It allocated the funds optimally among breeds by identifying the most suited conservation program for each breed, also accounting for differences in currency exchange rates between the different countries.

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Correspondence to Sabine B. Reist-Marti.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Reist-Marti, S.B., Abdulai, A. & Simianer, H. Optimum allocation of conservation funds and choice of conservation programs for a set of African cattle breeds. Genet Sel Evol 38, 99 (2006).

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