The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is where the coordinated global response to the extinction crisis begins. Widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant, animal and fungi species, the IUCN Red List provides conservation biologists, local communities, and even private companies with information on where species occur and in what numbers, how close those species may be to edge of extinction, and what threats are pushing them toward that edge.
GWC supports projects and initiatives that feed into the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for numerous groups of species. One such initiative is the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA), run by the Amphibian Red List Authority of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG). GWC supports this specialist group in large part because, as analysis of the IUCN Red List shows, amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders and caecilians) are the among the most threatened vertebrate groups with the highest proportion of threatened species.
Through its global network of experts and partner organizations, ASG compiles the most up-to-date data for every known amphibian species, including taxonomy, distribution, population trends, habitat and ecology, threats, conservation actions in-place or those that are necessary, and research needs. GWC’s support ensures that the ASG can continue providing relevant extinction risk assessments to the global community through the IUCN Red List. Ongoing reassessment is vital if the IUCN Red List is to serve as the global Barometer of Life: an indicator of the biodiversity trends over time.
With more than 7,500 amphibian species known to science—and new ones discovered nearly every day—keeping the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species up to date is no easy task. Prior to 2004, fewer than 1,000 species had been assessed primarily in Australia, North America and Europe. In 2004, scientists and conservationists completed the GAA, the first comprehensive study of the conservation status of all known species in the world. The second Global Amphibian Assessment is now underway and the ASG is working to update all of the 2004 assessments and complete the first-time assessments for nearly 2,000 newly described species.
The project aims to:
- Lead a global network of experts and local partners in the completion of the second Global Amphibian Assessment by the end of 2018, assessing the extinction risk of amphibian species by geographical region.
- Determine changes in the risk of extinction (conservation status) over time using a Red List Index and to identify the drivers behind those changes.
- Inform the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan and work with partners to implement conservation actions based on the assessments, including (but not limited to) habitat preservation through our wildlands work, identifying Key Biodiversity Areas for protection, monitoring key species within wildlands, and securing the recovery of key species groups through in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts.
(Photos by Robin Moore)
1st Global Assessment
# of known species, 2004
# of known species, 2017
% of threatened species, 2004
% of threatened species, 2017