IUCN adopts new 'Green List' to show species on the path to conservation success

September 28, 2012

The IUCN World Conservation Congress has adopted a motion sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and partners to create a Green List to assess conservation success. The Green List for Species would include species identified as 'fully conserved,' which are those that exist in ecologically significant numbers, interacting fully with other species in their ecosystems.

The motion was adopted at the World Conservation Congress, which was held this month in Jeju, Republic of Korea.

The aim of the Green List is to highlight species that are thriving parts of a healthy ecosystem and will emphasize that conservation is about more than just preventing extinction.

"Successful species conservation involves the conservation of a species with significant populations, interacting fully with a complete suite of other native species and processes," said WCS President and CEO Dr. Cristián Samper. "The conservation community should be giving to the world a positive and proactive vision of success: ¬species at or near their natural carrying capacity, as integral parts of fully functional ecosystems. The Green List will be a step in that direction."

The Green List will complement the IUCN Red List, which focuses on avoidance of extinction. The Red List has been critical in assessing conservation prioritization and has been a scientifically-rigorous tool highly regarded by governments and other conservation actors. To create the Green List to reach the same level of effectiveness, the motion recommends that IUCN conducts an international scientific consultation process to develop consensus and rigorous criteria.

Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, WCS Vice President of Species Conservation, said: "The Green List represents a positive vision for conservation in the future. It is a roadmap for species to follow on the way to full conservation recovery."

Dr. Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN's Species Survival Commission, said: "The Green List process is about optimism and success. It will incentivize conservation action and encourage investment in programs and policies that enhance and measure conservation success and management effectiveness."

Wildlife Conservation Society

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