Science and Economics

Science and Economics at the heart of IUCN



IUCN knowledge by the numbers

filling a gap


of conservation professionals do not yet have the access to the literature they need

making IUCN knowledge available

1 million +

pdf downloads from the IUCN online Library Portal in 2019

the Union's expertise


 members of six expert IUCN Commissions 

How we engage

A sound scientific basis is vital for effective decision-making in nature conservation. This encompasses compiling data and assessing them against formal standards, providing access to information, publishing research and analysis, and interacting with peer conservation science networks.

IUCN harnesses the 13,000-strong membership of the Union’s six expert Commissions to support assessments against the IUCN Red List, Key Biodiversity Areas and Protected Planet standards; runs library and publication services; and connects with peer networks like the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).


  • Coastal Wetland A new study in Nature finds that countries are falling short of meeting biodiversity targets despite an increase in areas under protection worldwide.  Photo: StockSnap, PIxabay

    Nations fall short on biodiversity despite protected area growth – IUCN co-authored study


    Gland, Switzerland, 7 October 2020 (IUCN) – National governments have fallen short on delivering conservation commitments for protected and conserved areas under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), despite the expansion in protected areas over...

  • Biodiversity offsets and no net loss Photo: Ryan Woo-CIFOR

    Biodiversity offsetting requires lots of land


    This guest blog by Laura Sonter, Jeremy Simmonds, James Watson and Martine Maron examines why avoiding impacts is a better solution to achieving No Net Loss of natural ecosystems.

  • Purplish-mantled Tanager (Iridosornis porphyrocephala) Purplish-mantled Tanager (Iridosornis porphyrocephala) Photo: © Natalia Ocampo-Peñuela

    New technology can help map species on the IUCN Red List


    A novel method incorporating remote sensing data into species mapping demonstrates how the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species continues to evolve, increasing in accuracy and impact as new technologies emerge.

Learn more

Palm oil plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. Palm oil plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo: HUTAN/KOCP

Palm oil and biodiversity conservation

With the disastrous impacts of palm oil on biodiversity from a global perspective, there are no simple solutions.


Structure of DNA Photo: CC0 Public Domain

Synthetic Biology and Biodiversity Conservation

Synthetic biology has no widely agreed definition. However, it is commonly understood as a field where engineering principles are applied to biology to design, construct or modify biological parts or systems.


Woman weaving a basket Woman weaving a basket Photo: IUCN / Ger Bergkamp

People in Nature (PiN)

An IUCN knowledge basket on the interrelationships between people and nature.


flooded field with trees in back and blue sky Photo: IUCN

Ecosystem Valuation

When businesses value environmental costs more consistently, better management decisions are made for the environment, society and the companies themselves.


Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

thumbnail_synthetic_biology_conservation_issues_brief Photo: IUCN

Synthetic biology and its implications for biodiversity conservation

Though there is an active international discussion on how best to define synthetic biology, it generally refers to technologies that allow humans to make precise alterations to the genes of organisms...
Issues brief -  Palm oil and biodiversity Photo: IUCN

Palm oil and biodiversity

Palm oil is derived from the oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.), which is native to West Africa and grows best in tropical climates with abundant water. Three-quarters of total palm oil produced...
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