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IUCNs Red List of Ecosystems: An Evolving Tool for Risk Assessment to Support Priority Setting & Landscape Action Edmund Barrow (Ecosystem Management Programme),

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Presentation on theme: "IUCNs Red List of Ecosystems: An Evolving Tool for Risk Assessment to Support Priority Setting & Landscape Action Edmund Barrow (Ecosystem Management Programme),"— Presentation transcript:

1 IUCNs Red List of Ecosystems: An Evolving Tool for Risk Assessment to Support Priority Setting & Landscape Action Edmund Barrow (Ecosystem Management Programme), Jon Paul Rodríguez & David Keith (Commission for Ecosystem Management) TCD Dublin May 2013

2 Documents, support, case studies, communications. English, Spanish and French. IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

3 @redlisteco IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

4 Complement to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (

5 Red Lists and Red Data Books of Threatened Species IUCN maintains threatened species lists since 1950s. Red Data Books popularized in 1960s: birds & mammals. Information explosion in 1990s: –Europe: 3,562 known red lists. –>100 countries have produced RL for at least one taxon (

6 1990s: major paradigm shift Species assigned to categories on the basis of quantitative criteria and thresholds. Separation of risk assessment (scientific) from definition of conservation priorities (societal process).

7 Quantitative criteria: Categories for IUCN red lists Thresholds Critically endangered Endangered Vulnerable Population decline Small range: fragmented / decline / fluctuation Very small or restricted population Quantitative assessment Reproductive population small and declining Georgina M. Mace Russell S. Lande

8 Conservation Priorities Weighting system Conservation priorities Extinction Risk Logistical Factors Economic Factors Societal Values Distributional Factors Other Factors (legal, institutional, etc.) Biological Factors Analysis, studies, choices, politics, land use etc

9 Extinction risk vs. Conservation Priorities Troupial Icterus icterus Anopheles sp. Least Concern

10 Motivation for a Red List categories system for ecosystems Abundant experience with red list categories for species. Red list explosion world-wide (> 100 countries have applied them). Increased capability of geographical information systems: –more powerful and inexpensive computers. –cheaper and more user-friendly software packages (Quantum GIS – free). Increased availability of remotely-sensed data, covering years.

11 Why focus on ecosystem status? May more effectively represent biodiversity as a whole than individual species. Ecosystem loss more apparent than species loss: clean water, food, fuel – service losses More time-efficient than species-by-species assessments (<3% species evaluated by IUCN). Ecosystem loss and degradation might precede species declines (e.g. extinction debt). Combined with species Red List, more powerful assessment of biodiversity status.

12 Official listing of threatened ecosystems is already taking place Gov. of W. Australia: quantitative categories & criteria for threatened ecosystems, also Victoria. S. African National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act: identification of over 200 threatened ecosystems. Austria, Germany, Finland, Norway & partially in other EU states (based on NATURA 2000, EUNIS). Venezuela, Senegal (draft); and Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru in process EC about to launch a tender for Red List of Habitats for Europe process

13 Mandates from the IUCN World Conservation Congresses (Barcelona 2008, Jeju 2012) Consolidation of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems: –Formal adoption of RLE categories and criteria. –Formal allocation of funds/staff. –Global assessment of ecosystems. –Provision of support to national assessments. –View RLS and RLE as an integrated tool (also with other IUCN key Knowledge Products).

14 Major scientific challenges I.What is an ecosystem? II.When is an ecosystem extinct? –Disappearance, transformation or collapse? III.How to assess ecosystem change? –distribution –function

15 I. Defining ecosystems No global classification (but maybe getting nearer), ecosystems may be defined at various scales (raindrop to biosphere) Approach: i)Adopt widey accepted conceptual definition (Tansley 1935, Odum) ii)Develop a risk assessment method applicable to any classification (national, regional) iii)Promote development of a global ecosystem classification iv)Require documented ecosystem descriptions as part of each risk assessment

16 Describing ecosystems for assessment Conceptual definition (4 key elements, Tansley 1935 ) 1.characteristic assemblage of biota 2.associated physical environment 3.processes & interactions between components –among biota –between biota & environment 4.Spatial extent Description template (operational) Classification (IUCN habitats, etc) 1.List defining biotic features 2.Identify defining abiotic features 3.Describe key ecosystem drivers 4.Maps (time series, projections) –past, present, future

17 Specific set of ecosystems that can be nested (local, national, global) use of different schemes – c.f. NatureServe (Classification & Description of World Formation Types); EUNIS Nesting into administrative & other means of dividing – e.g. overall major ecosystem types in a country, or a district, or land/water use Trade-offs between conceptual definitions & practical reality! We respect & will use national ecosystem classifications, but will seek to nest them Defining ecosystems – Our Operational basis

18 Data integration, nesting & access

19 NatureServe

20 Data integration, nesting & access NatureServe

21 Coming to Global consensus on Ecosystems – but not there yet!

22 RISK – the probability of a bad outcome over a specified time frame Define the bad outcome An endpoint to ecosystem decline –Ecosystems rarely disappear or go extinct (cf. species) –Collapse: transformation of identity, loss of defining features (characteristic biota & function), replacement by a novel ecosystem (e.g. invasives, agriculture, plantation) II. The concept of risk

23 RISK – the probability of a bad outcome over a specified time frame Specify the time frame for assessing change II. The concept of risk long enough to detect trends, short enough to inform action, long enough to consider lags & debts –past, present, future

24 III. Assessing ecosystem change Guiding principles for design of a protocol Evidence-based risk assessment using all available data & information Transparent derivation from relevant ecological theories Generic concepts and methods adaptable across a range of organisational & spatial scales and all ecological domains –terrestrial, freshwater, marine, subterranean Logically consistent with IUCN Red List criteria for species

25 III. Assessing Ecosystem Change Risk model for ecosystems: threats to defining features (distribution, biota & function) multiple mechanisms (causes of threat) 4 symptoms (of decline) = 4 criteria plus one overarching criterion (probability of collapse) Threatening processes Risk of loss of characteristic native biota A Declining distribution C Environmtl degradation D Altered biotic processes Ecosystem distribution Ecosystem function B Small distribution E Quantitative risk analysis

26 Categories Collapse Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable Near Threatened Least Concern (so reward, PES) Data Deficient Not Evaluated NE CO CR EN VU NT LC DD Threatened

27 Example of Senegal at National, Ecosystem or Administrative levels NE CR EN VU LC Barkadji district

28 Barkedji District RLE in N.E. Senegal – RLE at different scales RLE for District

29 A. Decline in distribution Time series data (maps, sightings) 2 observations Data quality & interpretation are important –garbage in, garbage out Change in wetland distribution 1960 – 2000 Contraction Expansion A1A2A3 Status Current (last 50 yrs) Future (next 50 yrs) Historic (since c. 1750) CR 80% 90% EN 50%80%70% VU 30%80%50% NT almost 30% almost 50% LC <30% <50% 10% net increase in distribution (Keith et al. 2010) Criterion A = Least Concern

30 Extent of Occurrence (EOO) Area of Occupancy (AOO) B. Restricted distribution Estimating distribution size risk spreading against spatially explicit threats 2 metrics: polygon (EOO), grids (AOO) subcriteria –qualitative evidence of decline exclude small fragments –1% occupancy rule scale-sensitive –standardised methods of (spatial) estimation –broad/fine ecosystem units Minimum convex polygon c.5000 km 2 10km cells occupied (46) occupied >1 % (12) Endangered: B1 & B2

31 Criteria C & D: functional decline - degradation of abiotic environment (C) - disruption of biotic processes (D) Varied pathways of functional decline Relative severity Extent (% of distribution) Immediacy –Current –Future –Historic

32 E. Quantitative analysis of risk of collapse Enables synthesis across all threats & mechanisms of collapse Ecosystem simulation models –Simple scalar models –State transition models –Complex flux models (trophic, energy, matter) Varied data requirements Progress: one pilot study, research proposal

33 Risk assessment outcomes ex. Caribbean coral reefs DD LC NE Sea Surface Temps need further interpretation NE VU-CR, observed decline in coral cover DD EN hindcast decline in coral cover DD A B C D E Photo: M.Spalding Overall status is EN-CR based on current & historic declines in coral cover Disease mgt, climate adaptation

34 Communication / support - plans IUCN Red List of Ecosystems: Categories, Criteria and Guidebook in English, French and Spanish. Website (CEM website initially to stand alone), with content (English, Spanish and French): –Reference documentation (e.g. guidebook, scientific articles). –Portfolio of case studies, using a standard format. –Set of presentations for training (in PowerPoint or using other web-based tools). Support: Ecosystem Red List task force, staff & core stable funding.

35 Planned organizational structure RLE 8-10 members Expertise from all biological realms and geographical regions. Oversees entire process, including listing challenges and interpretation of categories and criteria. Members from EMP, CEM, SSC and others. Joint product of EMP and CEM Functional day to day core group 3-5 people

36 By 2025, we aim to assess the conservation status of all of the worlds terrestrial, freshwater, marine and subterranean ecosystems.

37 Open access Conservation Biology 25: (2011)

38 IUCN RLE consultation workshops 17 conferences 20countries 5continents

39 Data integration and access Ecosystem classification

40 Data integration and access Ecosystem classification Taxonomy Ecosystem classification

41 Data integration and access Ecosystem classification Ecosystem classification Taxonomy

42 2008: Process begins at Barcelona WCC. 2009: IUCN Red List Thematic Group established. 2010: Draft red list categories and criteria available. 2011: Global consultation and testing initiated. 2013: IUCN Ecosystem Red List Office and Task Force established. 2013: Proposal to IUCN Council for formal adoption of categories and criteria : IUCN Red List of Continental Ecosystems of the Americas. 2012: Synthesis and presentation at Jeju WCC. 2015: Standardized protocols and on- line tools fully available : Expansion to other biological realms and regions initiated. 2020: Report on progress towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target : First IUCN Red List of Ecosystems completed. Past, present and future

43 The IUCN knowledge products and their integration

44 RLE - Opportunities outside Conservation Internationally recognized standard to prioritize & justify Conservation Action & Land Use Management (& investment) at national level. Criteria for assessment & performance – a decision support approach, basis for negotiated outcomes. Simple robust way to measure performance, make links with conservation & land use, & reward (Green list). But need to engage with other – more powerful – bodies (land use, planning, development, Macro- economic planning, political, finance). Link to good/bad governance. 44

45 Red List of Threatened Species Global Invasive species database WDPA Protected Planet Ecolex Red List of Ecosystems Key Biodiversity Areas Human Dependency on Nature Natural Resource Governance Framework Being linked Link in progress Conversation underway Conversation initiated Aspirational linkage Linking IUCN Knowledge Products (WCC Jeju)

46 From Risk Assessment to Action High risk of collapse (based on int. accepted RLE criteria) Why? – analysis, e.g forest clearance, climate change agriculture, poor governance (tenure, rights) What Action (choice)? – forest restoration, agro- forestry, protected areas, need to assess species at risk (RLS) Who? People/villages, Gov. So what? – revisit RLE after X time – changes??

47 RLE a basis for spatial overlays of products

48 Missirah Goumbeyel Nettebulu Koar RLE & Governance – testing the waters! Senegal RLE map + Governance = ??

49 RLE as one basis for Impartial means to support safeguards, e.g of WB – risk assessment prior to & if approved, after Basis to prioritize areas for action (e.g. GEF, multi- lateral, bi-lateral) at local, national and wider levels Risk assessment highlights need for action – or face loss of services with concurrent economic impacts (ex. of Amboseli) Links conservation with land/water use Ability to highlight ecosystems being well managed (e.g. least concern) – PES (e.g. Miyun) RLE is a tool that can be used at many levels & by different actors (Gov. NGO, Private Sector)

50 50 Park boundary Areas in need of restoration (extensive) Riverine area - Agric. Policy, connectivity If water services lost?? VU

51 RLE a powerful tool & set of approaches: a)International set of criteria for Red Listing Ecosystems, & highlight good ecosystem management. b)Support Red List of Species, World Data Base on Protected areas, Key Biodiversity Areas, (Conservation Action Support). c)One of few approaches to make linkages with productive land (water) use based on Int. criteria (Land Use support) d)Embrace ecosystem services & human inhabited ecosystems (links to food security) e)Highlight need for ecosystem restoration, but equally to reward good ecosystem management. But at the end of it – it is a Risk Assessment tool, and so only as good as its use

52 A growing network

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