Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the "IUCN Red List" and "Red Data List"), created in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species. It is maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
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.
Established upon a strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is often recognised as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
This release lists 784 species extinctions recorded since 1500 CE. This is an increase of 18 from the 766 listed as of 2000. Each year a small number of 'extinct' species are either rediscovered or reclassified as 'data deficient'. In 2002, the extinction list dropped to 759 species, but has been rising ever since.
Species are classified in nine groups, set through criterias such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.
- Extinct in the Wild
- Critically Endangered
- Near Threatened
- Least Concern
- Data Deficient
- Not Evaluated
The older 1994 criteria had eight categories. The "Lower Risk" category contained three subcategories: Near Threatened, Least Concern, and Conservation Dependent (now merged into Near Threatened). The Wikipedia conservation status categories are loosely based on these.
When discussing the IUCN Red List, the official term "threatened" is a grouping of three categories: Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.
- IUCN, 2004. Summary Statistics for Globally Threatened Species. Retrieved February 12, 2005.
- IUCN, 2004. Results of IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Database Search. Retrieved February 12, 2005.
- IUCN, 1994. Categories & Criteria (version 2.3). Retrieved February 12, 2005.
- IUCN, 2001. Categories & Criteria (version 3.1). Retrieved February 12, 2005.
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