The Next Phase in the Evolution of Red Listing
The goal of the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM is: To provide information and analyses on the status, trends and threats to species in order to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation. Delivering on this goal has resulted in the Red List’s well-known role in identifying particular species at risk of extinction and overall trends in extinction risk of particular taxa.
Since its establishment in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM has undergone many changes and updates, for example, increasing the scientific rigor required for assessments in 1994, as well as the development of the Red List Index to monitor trends in biodiversity. Because of its commitment to excellence and flexibility to adapt as new scientific knowledge is introduced, the Red List is the global standard for assessing the risk of extinction that individual species of animal, fungus, and plant faces.
Warnings of imminent extinctions are not the only way to catalyse conservation efforts, however. We also need an optimistic vision of species conservation that presents a road map on how to conserve a species and achieve its recovery. This is necessary to incentivize positive conservation actions and programmes. To achieve this, the Red List assessment process needs to be expanded to include classifiers of conservation success. IUCN is currently in the process of creating a new set of metrics to do just that.
The framework, presented by the IUCN SSC/ Red List Committee Task Force on Species Conservation Success under the working title of 'the IUCN Green Status of Species’, aims to complement the IUCN Red List by providing a tool for assessing the recovery of species’ populations and measuring their conservation success. Green Status of Species outputs will be incorporated into the Red List in the coming years.