Abstract: IUCN categories of threat (Endangered Vulnerable, Rare, Indeterminate, and others) are widely used in‘Red lists’of endangered species and have become an important tool in conservation action at international, national, regional, and thematic levels. The existing definitions are largely subjective, and as a result, categorizations made by different authorities diyfer and my not accurately reflect actual extinction risks. We present proposals to redefine categories in tams of the probability of extinction within a specific time period based on the theory of extinction times for single populations and on meaningful time scales for conservation action. Three categories are proposed (CRITICAL, ENDANGE‐, VULNERABLE) with decreasing levels of threat over increasing time scales for species estimated to have at least a 10% probability of extinction within 100 years. The process of assigning species to categories may need to vay among different taxonomic groups, but we present some simple qualitative criteria based on population biology theory, which we suggest are appropriate at least for most large vertebrates. The process of assessing threat is clearly distinguished from that of setting priorities for conservation action, and only the former is discussed here.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1991
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