Efforts to prioritize conservation areas have typically relied on indices that include levels of endemism, species richness, and degree of threat 1 . However, it has long been recognized that measures of species richne ss alone may fail to capture essential evolutionary processes that promote and sustain diversity 2 - 8 . To avoid extinction in the face of climate change, populations may either move to more favorable habitat, or adaptively respond to changing conditions. Wit h increasing fragmentation of formerly continuous habitat, dispersal to new areas may be severely limited. It is important, therefore, to develop ways of prioritizing regions that include not only areas with high species richness and where species might mo ve, but also regions that maximize a species’ adaptive potential . A suitable approach to do this is to protect as much intraspecific morphological and genetic variation as possible, so as to increase the probability that one or more populations will be adapted to new climate conditions. By identifying areas within the study region that harbor higher genetic variation, we have determined high priority areas that may influence conservation decisions. Understanding how these areas may change in response to impending climate change is of paramount importance. We have also ensured the toolbox of methods and data analysis pipeline for this project will be made available for use by LCC and other land managers. Finally, we have developed these methods to be of g eneral utility to regions outside the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. While ecological and climate factors other than those found to be important in Southern California are likely playing a role in other regions, the framework established here can be easily transferred to other model systems.
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