The IUCN red list of ecosystems: motivations, challenges, and applications

Keith, David A., Rodríguez, Jon Paul, Brooks, Thomas M., Burgman, Mark A., Barrow, Edmund G., Bland, Lucie, Comer, Patrick J., Franklin, Janet, Link, Jason, McCarthy, Michael A., Miller, Rebecca M., Murray, Nicholas J., Nel, Jeanne, Nicholson, Emily, Oliveira-Miranda, María A., Regan, Tracey J., Rodríguez-Clark, Kathryn M., Rouget, Mathieu, and Spalding, Mark D. (2015) The IUCN red list of ecosystems: motivations, challenges, and applications. Conservation Letters, 8 (3). pp. 214-226.

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Abstract

In response to growing demand for ecosystem-level risk assessment in biodiversity conservation, and rapid proliferation of locally tailored protocols, the IUCN recently endorsed new Red List criteria as a global standard for ecosystem risk assessment. Four qualities were sought in the design of the IUCN criteria: generality; precision; realism; and simplicity. Drawing from extensive global consultation, we explore trade-offs among these qualities when dealing with key challenges, including ecosystem classification, measuring ecosystem dynamics, degradation and collapse, and setting decision thresholds to delimit ordinal categories of threat. Experience from countries with national lists of threatened ecosystems demonstrates well-balanced trade-offs in current and potential applications of Red Lists of Ecosystems in legislation, policy, environmental management and education. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems should be judged by whether it achieves conservation ends and improves natural resource management, whether its limitations are outweighed by its benefits, and whether it performs better than alternative methods. Future development of the Red List of Ecosystems will benefit from the history of the Red List of Threatened Species which was trialed and adjusted iteratively over 50 years from rudimentary beginnings. We anticipate the Red List of Ecosystems will promote policy focus on conservation outcomes in situ across whole landscapes and seascapes.

Item ID: 60300
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1755-263X
Keywords: conservation status, ecosystem classification, ecosystem collapse, ecosystem services, IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, threatened ecological communities, threatened habitat types
Copyright Information: © 2015 The Authors.
Funders: MAVA Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP 130100435
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2020 22:08
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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