Smallest survivable population

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The smallest viable population ( Engl. Minimum Viable population or MVP ) is a term used in population genetics . It is the smallest possible effective population size that is still viable under specified conditions. The term population can be applied to different conditions: Usually one considers an endangered wild species , but also a breed of dog or a genetically isolated group of farm cats or laboratory mice can represent a population in the sense of the MVP.

Appreciate the MVP

The MVP is generally estimated using computer models that define various parameters such as the probability of natural disasters , inbreeding depression and purging , climate change and its effects and other conditions adapted to the population under consideration over a specified period of time. There is no uniform and binding definition, but an effective population size is usually referred to as an MVP if such a model calculation leads to an extinction of the population in less than five percent of cases over a period of 100 to 1000 years .

See also


  • John F. Lehmkuhl: Determining size and dispersion of minimum viable populations for land management planning and species conservation. In: Environmental Management. 8, No. 2, 1984, pp. 167-176, doi : 10.1007 / BF01866938 .
  • Mark L. Shaffer: Minimum Population Sizes for Species Conservation In: BioScience. 31, No. 2, 1981, pp. 131-134.
  • Lochran W. Trailla, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Barry W. Brook: Minimum Viable Population Size: A meta-analysis of 30 years of published estimates. In: Biological Conservation. 139, No. 1-2, 2007, pp. 159-166, doi : 10.1016 / j.biocon.2007.06.011 .

Individual evidence

  1. Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe: Guidelines for Population Level Management Plans for Large Carnivores, page 18