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Policy support tool

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is the most comprehensive, objective database of the global conservation status of species. It evaluates the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. The IUCN aims to have each species re-evaluated in a peer reviewed manner every five years if possible, or at least every ten years. It provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use, trade, threats, and conservation actions. From its small beginning, the List has grown and now plays an increasingly prominent role in guiding conservation activities of governments, NGOs, and scientific institutions. More than 76,000 species have been assessed for List. The next goal is 160,000 species (plants, animals, and fungi) assessed by 2020.

Aim of the resource

To highlight taxa threatened with extinction, and therefore promote their conservation.
To provide scientifically based information on the status of species and subspecies at a global level,
To draw attention to the magnitude and importance of threatened biodiversity.
To influence national and international policy and decision-making,
To provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.
To inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive.

Potential benefits from using the resource
It is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity
Potential limitations from using the resource
In 1997, the IUCN Red List came under criticism on the grounds of poor documentation surrounding the sources of its data. The IUCN has since improved its data quality and introduced peer review.
It has been suggested that the IUCN Red List and similar works are prone to misuse by governments and other groups that draw possibly inappropriate conclusions on the state of the environment, to exploit natural resources
UN languages in which the resource is available
Development stage
Full, working product
Craig Hilton Taylor
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