Abstract : Through concrete examples of endangered plants chosen in the flora of the French Alps, this work presents the application of three main aspects classically used in conservation biology: the study of genetic variation, the study of reproductive performance and reproductive system and the study of population dynamics.
First, we show that molecular markers are a useful tool to resolve taxonomic ambiguities and verify the status of conservation unit in the case of Potentilla delphinensis Gren. and Godron. They also allowed us to establish a strategy for population reinforcement of Dracocephalum austriacum L.
Then, we show that the reproductive performances and the reproductive system are good indicators of population viability (Androsace septentrionalis L. and Cypripedium calceolus L.).
We also demonstrate the relevance of population matrix models and population viability analyses to understand better the biology and the ecology of an endangered species and to estimate its vulnerability (Cypripedium calceolus L. and Astragalus alopecurus Pallas).
The combination of the different approaches on Dracocephalum austriacum indicate that genetic and demographic aspects interact and should be considered together to predict the viability of the populations.
Finally, we propose theoretical and methodological recommendations, especially on the application of demographic approaches to endangered plants. Pragmatic applied management guidelines are proposed to enhance the protection of the flora.