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Progress, challenges and opportunities for Red Listing

Bachman, Steven P.; Field, Richard; Reader, Tom; Raimondo, Domitilla; Donaldson, John; Schatz, George E.; Lughadha, Eimear Nic


Steven P. Bachman

Associate Professor

Domitilla Raimondo

John Donaldson

George E. Schatz

Eimear Nic Lughadha


Despite its recognition as an important global resource for conservation, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species only provides assessments of extinction risk for a small and biased subset of known biodiversity. A more complete Red List can better support species-level conservation by indicating how quickly we need to act on species deemed to be priorities for conservation action.

Vascular plants represent one of the Red List knowledge gaps, with only 7% of species currently on the Red List (including in the Data Deficient and Least Concern categories). Using vascular plants as a case study we highlight how recent developments, such as changes to rules, improvements to data management systems, better assessment tools and training, can support Red List assessment activity. We also identify ongoing challenges, such as the need to support regional and national assessment initiatives, the largely voluntary nature of the Red List community, as well as the need to meet core operating costs for the Red List. Finally, we highlight how new opportunities such as automation and batch uploading can fast-track assessments, and how better monitoring of assessment growth can help assess the impact of new developments. Most of our findings are also applicable to other species-rich groups that are under-represented on the Red List.

We examine trends in plant Red Listing and conclude that the rate of new assessments has not increased in line with what would be required to reach goals such as the Barometer of Life. This may result partly from a lag between recent changes and their effects, but further progress can be made by realising the opportunities outlined here and by growing the Red List community and strengthening collaboration with IUCN.


Bachman, S. P., Field, R., Reader, T., Raimondo, D., Donaldson, J., Schatz, G. E., & Lughadha, E. N. (2019). Progress, challenges and opportunities for Red Listing. Biological Conservation, 234, 45-55.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 22, 2019
Publication Date 2019-06
Deposit Date Mar 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2019
Journal Biological Conservation
Print ISSN 0006-3207
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 234
Pages 45-55
Keywords Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics; Nature and Landscape Conservation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Progress, challenges and opportunities for Red Listing; Journal Title: Biological Conservation; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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