A New ‘Green List’ Serves as a Guide for Species Recovery

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released a new tool that will provide information on the recovery status of vulnerable and endangered species. The conservation organization, which previously published the Red List to identify endangered species, has now released the Green Status of Species list, which it believes will spur conservation efforts by recognizing successes and prospects for future action. UCN writes in Conservation Biology that it has now assessed 181 species using these new criteria.

More than 200 researchers working under the auspices of the IUCN compared the size and range of the current population to what they were in the past to determine each species’ green status. They also looked at the impact of conservation efforts, how reliant the species is on human assistance for survival, and how well the species might recover in the future. The animals, plants, and fungus that were examined were then classified into one of six categories, ranging from “completely recovered” to “extinct in the wild”.

In the latest study, the grey wolf was one of the species examined. Although it is classified as “least concern” on the Red List, it was given the green status category of “largely depleted,” indicating that this once-common species still has a long way to go before attaining full ecological recovery.

The pink pigeon of Mauritius, on the other hand, was reduced to a natural population of just ten individuals in the early 1990s. Its “moderately depleted” green classification reflects how successful conservation efforts have been since then, helping to increase its population to a few hundred. The river clubtail dragonfly, a Eurasian species, has been deemed “completely recovered,” after it was threatened in Western Europe by polluted waterways but rebounded after the European Union enacted new environmental rules.

Photo Credit: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/07/new-green-list-provides-road-map-species-recovery