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Genetics Selection Evolution

Open Access

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

  • Sabine B. Reist-Marti1Email author,
  • Awudu Abdulai2 and
  • Henner Simianer3
Genetics Selection Evolution200638:99

Received: 15 May 2005

Accepted: 16 August 2005

Published: 15 January 2006


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.


optimal allocationconservation programAfrican cattleconservation fundschoice of program

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Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Animal Science, Institute for Agricultural Economics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland, Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen, Switzerland
Department of Food Economics and Consumption Studies, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006