Do you know who decides which animal / plant species are threatened, which are extinct? Know about it. We must know how it works!
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.
The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction.
Major species assessors include BirdLife International, the Institute of Zoology (the research division of the Zoological Society of London), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and many Specialist Groups within the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). Collectively, assessments by these organizations and groups account for nearly half the species on the Red List.
The goals of the Red List are
- (1) to provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a global level,
- (2) to draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity,
- (3) to influence national and international policy and decision-making, and
- (4) to provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.
The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated every five years if possible, or at least every ten years.
Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups, set through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.
- Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
- Extinct in the Wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
- Critically Endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
- Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
- Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
- Near Threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future.
- Least Concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
- Data Deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
- Not Evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term “threatened” is a grouping of three categories: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.
he percentage of species in several groups which are listed as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable (in the order of color >> ) from on the 2007 IUCN Red List.
In 1997, the IUCN Red List came under criticism on the grounds of secrecy (or at least poor documentation) surrounding the sources of data.
These allegations have led to efforts by the IUCN to improve its documentation and data quality, and to include peer reviews of taxa on the Red List. The list is also open to petitions against its classifications, on the basis of documentation or criteria. A Nature editorial defended the Red List’s relevance in October 2008.
It has been suggested that the IUCN Red List and similar works are prone to misuse by governments and other groups that draw possibly inappropriate conclusions on the state of the environment or to effect exploitation of natural resources.
Courtesy : Google, Wikipedia and IUCN