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egos of the elephant experts than it does for biotic diversity, which is centered on less exciting communities of montane forests, Mediterranean heathlands, wetlands, lakes, and rivers.
The analysis of the level of protection afforded mapped vegetation types is a valuable first approximation to evaluating the effectiveness of existing protected area systems. But attention must also be directed to centers of species richness and endemism and to sites of threatened species, which are seldom reflected in vegetation maps. RDBs of threatened plants, animals, and habitats are of considerable value in stimulating interest at a national level in issues of biodiversity conservation.
The existence of highly sophisticated environmental monitoring systems in several African states offers experience and expertise to other countries that require simple but effective approaches to monitoring biodiversity.
Expert systems based on the synthesis of available ecological principles and local knowledge offer tremendous potential in the development of objective decision rules for identifying conservation priorities in areas and on topics with limited expertise or data. With very few exceptions, knowledge of biotic conservation needs and priorities far exceeds the ability of African governments to implement conservation action plans.
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