The conservation status of a group of organisms (for instance, a species) indicates whether the group still exists and how likely the group is to become extinct in the near future. Many factors are taken into account when assessing conservation status: not simply the number of individuals remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, and known threats. Various systems of conservation status exist and are in use at international, multi-country, national and local levels as well as for consumer use.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the best known worldwide conservation status listing and ranking system. 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.
Also included are species that have gone extinct since 500 AD. When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term "threatened" is a grouping of three categories: critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Many countries require CITES permits when importing plants and animals listed on CITES.
In the European Union (EU), the Birds and Habitats Directives are the legal instruments that evaluate the conservation status within the EU of species and habitats.
NatureServe conservation status focuses on Latin America, United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. It has been developed by scientists from NatureServe, The Nature Conservancy, and the network of natural heritage programs and data centers. It is increasingly integrated with the IUCN Red List system. Its categories for species include: presumed extinct (GX), possibly extinct (GH), critically imperiled (G1), imperiled (G2), vulnerable (G3), apparently secure (G4), and secure (G5). The system also allows ambiguous or uncertain ranks including inexact numeric ranks (e.g. G2?), and range ranks (e.g. G2G3) for when the exact rank is uncertain. NatureServe adds a qualifier for captive or cultivated only (C), which has a similar meaning to the IUCN Red List extinct in the wild (EW) status.
The Red Data Book of the Russian Federation is used within the Russian Federation, and also accepted in parts of Africa.
In Australia, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) describes lists of threatened species, ecological communities and threatening processes. The categories resemble those of the 1994 IUCN Red List Categories & Criteria (version 2.3). Prior to the EPBC Act, a simpler classification system was used by the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. Some state and territory governments also have their own systems for conservation status. The codes for the Western Australian conservation system are given at Declared Rare and Priority Flora List (abbreviated to DECF when using in a taxobox).
In Canada, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is a group of experts that assesses and designates which wild species are in some danger of disappearing from Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), it is up to the federal government, which is politically accountable, to legally protect species assessed by COSEWIC.
In China, the State, provinces and some counties have determined their key protected wildlife species. There is the China red data book.
In Germany, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation publishes "red lists of endangered species".
In the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality publishes a list of threatened species, and conservation is enforced by the Nature Conservation Act 1998. Species are also protected through the Wild Birds and Habitats Directives.
In New Zealand, the Department of Conservation publishes the New Zealand Threat Classification System lists. As of January 2008 threatened species or subspecies are assigned one of seven categories: Nationally Critical, Nationally Endangered, Nationally Vulnerable, Declining, Recovering, Relict, or Naturally Uncommon. While the classification looks only at a national level, many species are unique to New Zealand, and species which are secure overseas are noted as such.
In Russia, the Red Book of Russian Federation came out in 2001, it contains categories defining preservation status for different species. In it there are 8 taxa of amphibians, 21 taxa of reptiles, 128 taxa of birds, and 74 taxa of mammals, in total 231. There are also more than 30 regional red books, for example the red book of the Altaic region which came out in 1994.
In South Africa, The South African National Biodiversity Institute, established under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004, is responsible for drawing up lists of affected species, and monitoring compliance with CITES decisions. It is envisaged that previously diverse Red lists would be more easily kept current, both technically and financially.
In Thailand, the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act of BE 2535 defines fifteen reserved animal species and two classes of protected species, of which hunting, breeding, possession, and trade are prohibited or restricted by law. The National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for the regulation of these activities.
In Ukraine, the Ministry of Environment Protection maintains list of endangered species (divided into seven categories from "0" - extinct to "VI" - rehabilitated) and publishes it in the Red Book of Ukraine.
The categories do not simply reflect the imperilment of individual species, but also consider the environmental impacts of how and where they are fished, such as through bycatch or ocean bottom trawlers. Often groups of species are assessed rather than individual species (e.g. squid, prawns).
The black roughscale catshark (Apristurus melanoasper) is a catshark of the family Scyliorhinidae, found at the northwest Atlantic continental shelf at depths between 510 and 1,520 m. It can grow up to 76 cm (30 in).Bulldog catshark
The bulldog catshark (Apristurus pinguis) is a catshark of the family Scyliorhinidae, found in the deep waters of the East China Sea and in the Northwest Pacific. Its length is up to 83.5 cm.Critically endangered
A critically endangered (CR) species is one that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.As of 2014, there are 2,464 animal and 2,104 plant species with this assessment, compared with 1998 levels of 854 and 909, respectively.As the IUCN Red List does not consider a species extinct until extensive, targeted surveys have been conducted, species that are possibly extinct are still listed as critically endangered. IUCN maintains a list of "possibly extinct" CR(PE) and "possibly extinct in the wild" CR(PEW) species, modelled on categories used by BirdLife International to categorize these taxa.Data deficient
A data deficient (DD) species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as offering insufficient information for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made. This does not necessarily indicate that the species has not been extensively studied; but it does indicate that little or no information is available on the abundance and distribution of the species.
The IUCN recommends that care be taken to avoid classing species as "data deficient" when the absence of records may indicate dangerously low abundance: "If the range of a taxon is suspected to be relatively circumscribed, if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified" (see also precautionary principle).Declared Rare and Priority Flora List
The Declared Rare and Priority Flora List is the system by which Western Australia's conservation flora are given a priority. Developed by the Government of Western Australia's Department of Environment and Conservation, it is used extensively within the department, including the Western Australian Herbarium. The herbarium's journal, Nuytsia, which has published over a quarter of the state's conservation taxa, requires a conservation status to be included in all publications of new Western Australian taxa that appear to be rare or endangered.
The system defines six levels of priority taxa:
X: Threatened (Declared Rare Flora) – Presumed Extinct Taxa
These are taxa that are thought to be extinct, either because they have not been collected for over 50 years despite thorough searching, or because all known wild populations have been destroyed. They have been declared as such in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and are therefore afforded legislative protection under that act.
T: Threatened (Declared Rare Flora) – Extant Taxa
These are taxa that have been thoroughly surveyed, and determined to be rare, in danger of extinction, or otherwise in need of special protection. They have been declared rare in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and are therefore afforded legislative protection under that act. The code for this category was previously 'R'.
P1: Priority One – Poorly Known Taxa
These are taxa that are known from only a few (generally less than five) populations, all of which are under immediate threat. They are candidates for declaration as rare flora, but are in need of further survey.
P2: Priority Two – Poorly Known Taxa
These are taxa that are known from only a few (generally less than five) populations, some of which are not thought to be under immediate threat. They are candidates for declaration as rare flora, but are in need of further survey.
P3: Priority Three – Poorly Known Taxa
That are taxa that are known from several populations, some of which are not thought to be under immediate threat. They are candidates for declaration as rare flora, but are in need of further survey.
P4: Priority Four – Rare Taxa
These are taxa that have been adequately surveyed, and are rare but not known to be under threat.Ecoregion conservation status
Conservation status of the Global 200 ecoregions is used to classify ecoregions into one of three broad categories: "critical/endangered",
"vulnerable", or "relatively stable/relatively intact".
The conservation status of terrestrial ecoregions is noted : CE for critical or endangered, V for vulnerable, and RS for relatively stable or intact.
Ecoregions vary in their biological particularities, as well as in their conservation status. This latter represents an estimation of the current and future ability of the ecoregion to sustain ecological viability and to react to environmental changes.
Conservation status was based on landscape (or equivalent for freshwater and marine ecoregions), such as total habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, degree of degradation, degree of protection needed, degree of urgency for conservation needs, and types of conservation practiced or required.
The Global 200 ecoregions list can mostly help conservation at regional scale (local deforestation, destruction of swamps habitats, degradation of soils...). However, certain phenomena (such as bird or cetaceans migration) obviously depend on more complicated parameters not used in defining the current database (such as atmospheric currents, dynamic pelagic ecosystem...). These would require further gathering of information, and require coordination of efforts between several ecoregions. However, Global 200 ecoregions can help these efforts by identifying habitat sites and resting sites for migratory animals. It may also help identify the origin of invasive species, and offer leverage for slowing down or stopping the intrusion and settling of the latter.Endangered species
An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as very likely to become extinct. Endangered (EN), as categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN's schema after Critically Endangered (CR).
In 2012, the IUCN Red List featured 3079 animal and 2655 plant species as endangered (EN) worldwide. The figures for 1998 were, respectively, 1102 and 1197.
Many nations have laws that protect conservation-reliant species: for example, forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves. Population numbers, trends and species' conservation status can be found at the lists of organisms by population.Extinct in the wild
An extinct in the wild (EW) species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as known only by living members kept in captivity or as a naturalized population outside its historic range due to massive habitat loss.FloraBase
FloraBase is a public access web-based database of the flora of Western Australia. It provides authoritative scientific information on 12,978 taxa, including descriptions, maps, images, conservation status and nomenclatural details. 1,272 alien taxa (naturalised weeds) are also recorded.The system takes data from datasets including the Census of Western Australian Plants and the Western Australian Herbarium specimen database of nearly 725,000 vouchered plant collections. It is operated by the Western Australian Herbarium within the Department of Parks and Wildlife. It was established in November 1998.
In its distribution guide it uses a combination of IBRA version 5.1 and John Stanley Beard's botanical provinces.IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1965, has evolved to become the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of 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. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity. A series of Regional Red List are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.
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. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (1996), the formally stated 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.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 IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated every five years if possible, or at least every ten years. This is done in a peer reviewed manner through IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups, which are Red List Authorities responsible for a species, group of species or specific geographic area, or in the case of BirdLife International, an entire class (Aves).Least-concern species
A least concern (LC) species is a species which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as evaluated but not qualified for any other category. They do not qualify as threatened, near threatened, or (before 2001) conservation dependent.
Species cannot be assigned the Least Concern category unless they have had their population status evaluated. That is, adequate information is needed to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution or population status.
Since 2001 the category has had the abbreviation "LC", following the IUCN 2001 Categories & Criteria (version 3.1). However, around 20% of least concern taxa (3261 of 15636) in the IUCN database use the code "LR/lc", which indicates they have not been re-evaluated since 2000. Before 2001 "least concern" was a subcategory of the "Lower Risk" category and assigned the code "LR/lc" or lc.
While "least concern" is not considered a red listed category by the IUCN, the 2006 IUCN Red List still assigns the category to 15636 taxa. The number of animal species listed in this category totals 14033 (which includes several undescribed species such as a frog from the genus Philautus). There are also 101 animal subspecies listed and 1500 plant taxa (1410 species, 55 subspecies, and 35 varieties). There are also two animal subpopulations listed: the Australasian and Southern African subpopulations of spiny dogfish. No fungi or protista have the classification, though only four species in those kingdoms have been evaluated by the IUCN. Humans qualify for this category, and in 2008 were formally assessed as such by the IUCN.NatureServe
NatureServe, Inc. is an Arlington, Virginia-based non-profit organization that provides proprietary wildlife conservation-related data, tools, and services to private and government clients, partner organizations, and the public. NatureServe reports being "headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with regional offices in four U.S. locations and in Canada." In calendar year 2011 they reported having 86 employees, 6 volunteers, and 15 independent officers.NatureServe conservation status
The NatureServe conservation status system, maintained and presented by NatureServe in cooperation with the Natural Heritage Network, was developed in the United States in the 1980s by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as a means for ranking or categorizing the relative imperilment of species of plants, animals, or other organisms, as well as natural ecological communities, on the global, national and/or subnational levels. These designations are also referred to as NatureServe ranks, NatureServe statuses, or Natural Heritage ranks. While the Nature Conservancy is no longer substantially involved in the maintenance of these ranks, the name TNC ranks is still sometimes encountered for them.
NatureServe ranks indicate the imperilment of species or ecological communities as natural occurrences, ignoring individuals or populations in captivity or cultivation, and also ignoring non-native occurrences established through human intervention beyond the species' natural range (as, for example, with many invasive species).
NatureServe ranks have been designated primarily for species and ecological communities in the United States and Canada, but the methodology is global, and has been used in some areas of Latin America and the Caribbean. The NatureServe Explorer website presents a centralized set of global, national, and subnational NatureServe ranks developed by NatureServe or provided by cooperating U.S. Natural Heritage Programs and Canadian and other international Conservation Data Centers.Near-threatened species
A near-threatened species is a species which has been categorized as "Near Threatened" (NT) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future, although it does not currently qualify for the threatened status. The IUCN notes the importance of re-evaluating near-threatened taxon at appropriate intervals.
The rationale used for near-threatened taxa usually includes the criteria of vulnerable which are plausible or nearly met, such as reduction in numbers or range. Near-threatened species evaluated from 2001 onwards may also be ones which are dependent on conservation efforts to prevent their becoming threatened, whereas prior to this conservation-dependent species were given a separate category ("Conservation Dependent").
Additionally, the 402 conservation-dependent taxa may also be considered near-threatened.New Zealand Threat Classification System
The New Zealand Threat Classification System is used by the Department of Conservation to assess conservation priorities of species in New Zealand.The system was developed because the IUCN Red List, a similar conservation status system, had some shortcomings for the unique requirements of conservation ranking in New Zealand. As of 2011 plants, animals, and fungi are evaluated, though the lattermost has yet to be published. Algae were assessed in 2005 but not reassessed since. Other protists have not been evaluated.New Zealand catshark
The New Zealand catshark, Bythaelurus dawsoni, is a catshark of the family Scyliorhinidae in the order Carcharhiniformes, found in the deep waters around New Zealand. Its length is up to 45 centimetres (18 in). The New Zealand catshark is a small, little-known deep water bottom shark. It is dark brown around the top with a few widely spaced pale spots, and white below. It feeds on bottom-living crustaceans. It is also completely harmless to Hominidae.Rare species
A rare species is a group of organisms that are very uncommon, scarce, or infrequently encountered. This designation may be applied to either a plant or animal taxon, and is distinct from the term endangered or threatened. Designation of a rare species may be made by an official body, such as a national government, state, or province. The term more commonly appears without reference to specific criteria. The IUCN does not normally make such designations, but may use the term in scientific discussion.Rarity rests on a specific species being represented by a small number of organisms worldwide, usually fewer than 10,000. However, a species having a very narrow endemic range or fragmented habitat also influences the concept. Almost 75% of known species can be classified as "rare."The International Union for Conservation of Nature uses the term "rare" as a designation for species found in isolated geographical locations. They are not endangered but classified as "at risk."A species may be endangered or vulnerable, but not considered rare if it has a large, dispersed population. Rare species are generally considered threatened because a small population size is more likely to not recover from ecological disasters.Rare species are species with small populations. Many move into the endangered or vulnerable category if the negative factors affecting them continue to operate. Examples of rare species include the Himalayan brown bear, Fennec fox, Wild Asiatic buffalo and Hornbill.
A rare plant's legal status can be observed through the USDA's Plants Database.Threatened species
Threatened species are any species (including animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future. Species that are threatened are sometimes characterised by the population dynamics measure of critical depensation, a mathematical measure of biomass related to population growth rate. This quantitative metric is one method of evaluating the degree of endangerment.Vulnerable species
A vulnerable species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
Vulnerability is mainly caused by habitat loss or destruction of the species home. Vulnerable habitat or species are monitored and can become increasingly threatened. Some species listed as "vulnerable" may be common in captivity, an example being the military macaw.
There are currently 5196 animals and 6789 plants classified as vulnerable, compared with 1998 levels of 2815 and 3222, respectively.
Practices such as Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources have been enforced in efforts to conserve vulnerable breeds of livestock specifically.