Grand Bois, Haiti
Haiti's First Nature Reserve, Grand Bois Mountain. Photo by: Robin Moore

At Global Wildlife Conservation, we’re using data science to inform our decisions and determine where we can make the biggest impact. We’re enabling a deeper understanding of global biodiversity--and how to best conserve it--through assessments on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and through the identification and monitoring of Key Biodiversity Areas, in turn applying that knowledge to help prioritize our conservation work. It is at the heart of what we do and the foundation of our work.

Key Biodiversity Areas guide our efforts to conserve wildlands

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are sites of global importance for biodiversity on land, freshwater and oceans. These sites are identified by national experts and organizations using globally standardized criteria developed by IUCN.  

More than 15,000 Key Biodiversity Areas have been identified to date globally.

Data on KBAs are guiding conservation decisions by governments, donors, conservation organizations, businesses and local communities. GWC is a founding member of the Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership, a collaboration of thirteen  international conservation organizations working to map, monitor and conserve the most important places for life on earth.  GWC contributes to the KBA Partnership by supporting local NGOs (e.g. Bahamas) to identify and monitor KBAs, providing knowledge and expertise as co-chair of the KBA technical working group, creating internal and external communications and fundraising materials, conducting training workshops, and supporting the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas.

Identifying KBAs, especially within the Biodiversity Hotspots and High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas, helps us focus our efforts to conserve wildlands on those sites that are irreplaceable from a global perspective.

Ghana’s Wildlife Wonderland: Atewa Forest

 

Ghana’s Atewa Forest is teeming with life, home to at least 50 mammal species, more than 1,000 species of plants, at least 230 species of birds and more than 570 butterflies—and many of these are found nowhere else in the world. Atewa’s impressive biodiversity has earned it the designation of a Key Biodiversity Area, a site of global importance to the planet’s overall health. We joined a number of other KBA partners to urge Ghana’s president to protect Atewa Forest as a national park, rather than allowing a company to mine the forest for bauxite—the chief ingredient in aluminum.

The IUCN Red List
helps us preserve wildlife

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species assesses the conservation status of plant, fungi, and animal species on our planet. It’s the product of a massive ongoing global collaboration involving a network of thousands of volunteer experts and key partners who compile and analyze the best available data on species, including on distribution, ecological requirements, and threats.

The most comprehensive global standard for evaluating the status of wildlife, the IUCN Red List  also suggests conservation actions and provides decision makers and conservation planners with knowledge of what the conservation challenges are, where they are located, and how to address them. The goal of the IUCN Red List is to track the status of 160,000 species that are representative of all ecosystems on the planet.  Of the tens of thousands of species currently assessed, more than a quarter face some risk of extinction, including 40% of amphibians, 25% of mammals and 14% of birds.

The IUCN Red List is one of the tools we use to prioritize our conservation work. We focus primarily on species that are most threatened with extinction - those with a status of Endangered or Critically Endangered. We also use the IUCN Red List to help track our overall conservation impact by tracking species’ status and conservation interventions over time.

GWC coordinates the Global Amphibian Assessment, an initiative of the Amphibian Specialist Group that is updating the conservation status of all amphibians on the planet.

Black-eyed leaf frog, Agalychnis moreletii in the Cuchumatanes of Guatemala. Photo by: Robin Moore
The Red List in Action

The future once looked grim for the stunning Black-eyed Leaf Frog from Mexico and the Neotropics, but 13 years after the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classified the species as Critically Endangered—often the last step before extinction—new information has led to a dramatically different classification: Least Concern. The most recent IUCN Red List update, which GWC supported, found the amphibian both in historic and new locations, and in some places in high numbers, including at the GWC-funded Yal Unin Yul Witz Amphibian Reserve (or Sleeping Baby Reserve) in Guatemala.

Stay Wild. Stay Connected.