IUCN Red List (2013)

The IUCN Red List is produced and managed by the international IUCN Global Species Programme and the Species Survival Commission (SSC).

The IUCN Red List System was first conceived in 1964 and set a standard for species listing and conservation assessment efforts. For more than 30 years the Species Survival Commission (SSC) in conjunction with the IUCN Species Programme, has been evaluating the conservation status of species and subspecies on a global scale – highlighting those threatened with extinction and promoting their conservation.

Over time, however, IUCN recognised that a more objective and scientific system for determining threat status was needed, one that drew on advances in the science of conservation biology and other disciplines. There was also a need for a more accurate system for use at the national and regional level. The IUCN Red List Categories evolved over a four-year period through extensive consultation and testing with more than 800 SSC members, and the wider scientific community. The more precise and quantitative Red List Categories and Criteria were adopted by IUCN in 1994.

In 1988 all bird species were evaluated, and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals the conservation status of every mammal species in the world was assessed for the first time. These were major milestones in conservation because not only was the overall status of mammals and birds determined, but a baseline was established from which to monitor future trends.

For the 1996 list 5,205 species were evaluated resulting in 25% of all mammals and 11% of all birds being listed as threatened.

In 2011 there were over 61,000 species on the Red List and all mammals, birds, amphibians, sharks, reef-buliding corals, cycads and conifers had been assessed.

The present IUCN Red List is found here.

The Guardian has a useful summary – this is here.

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria, Australia)

Here is information on Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFG), which is the key piece of State (Victoria, Australia) legislation for the conservation of threatened species and communities and for the management of potentially threatening processes. Under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, species listed as threatened must have action statements written about them “as soon as possible”. These statements assess the status of threatened species and help prepare action plans to ensure they do not become extinct. There is a backlog of many threatened species that do not yet have action statements, and this is the subject of concern.

The Victorian Government has now settled with EEG.

Environment East Gippsland (EEG) is a small volunteer-run group that acts in this area. It commenced a legal action against the Victorian government over its failure to prepare “action statements” for four species listed as threatened – the glossy black cockatoo, the long-nosed potoroo, the large brown tree frog and the eastern she oak skink. Here is the EEG web posting about these species. Each of the four species cited in the Environment East Gippsland case has been without an action statement for at least 10 years, with the glossy black cockatoo first listed as threatened in 1995.

As part of the settlement, the government has agreed to finalise action statements by 30 June, 2014. The assessment of the cockatoo will be completed by the end of this year, with the potoroo the next to be analysed. The government also agreed to create an “over-arching plan” for the other species without an action statement by 20 December this year, although this was not part of the main settlement.

Here is The Guardian press article about this, which gives the details about the settlement.