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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This list identifies and helps determine if a species of plant, wildlife, or bird are threatened or at risk of extinction. 

The IUCN Red List is used for scientific research to inform policies, influence fund allocations, and guide conservationists’ planning. The Red List is also used to improve decision-making, help students, and help research health and medicine.

I often look at the IUCN Red List for my research on this site, which helps me in my daily job. I wondered who else uses the Red List and what they use it for. What I found made me appreciate the work they put into the list even more.


Why Is The IUCN Red List Important?

Without the Red List, many animals or plants would have disappeared from the face of the earth without anyone even noticing.

The Red List is a rich source of information on various species, including their habitats, distribution, and the speed of decline in recent years. It also covers the remaining individuals’ population, their ecological requirements, and the chances they might vanish over the next 100 years.

A thorough assessment is done to ensure that all the species on the Red List belong there. Evaluation results are reviewed by experts who agree if a particular plant or animal species should be included on the Red List.

The Red List consists of various categories. There are categories for extinct, threatened, and lower risk. The species are further classified based on their population, geographical distribution, rate of decline, and distribution disintegration. 

Unfortunately, there are many endangered mammals in North America.  Please find out the ten most endangered mammals in this article I wrote.

What Are The Groups On The IUCN Red List?

  • Extinct – The species no longer exists and has already disappeared completely.
  • Extinct in the wild – These species do not exist in the wild. They survive only outside the native range or in captivity. Surveys are carried out in all regions before the IUCN comes to this conclusion.
  • Critically endangered – These are in a critical state and on the brink of extinction.
  • She endangered – Species at a high risk of extinction while in the wild.
  • Vulnerable – The species is considered to be at risk of human or unnatural extinction without any human intervention.
  • Near threatened – Might be at a high risk of extinction soon.
  • Most minor concern – It may not become extinct or even threatened soon.

Among these groups, endangered, critically endangered, and vulnerable are all put in the threatened category. This particular category requires immediate intervention and measures to protect the species. If appropriate action is not taken to reduce the species’ threats, it may quickly reach extinction. 

All groups are created based on the extinction risks of a species. The IUCN Red List is an essential tool that environmentalists and conservationists use to ask for governments’ help to protect endangered species.

How the Red list is Used

The Red List is more than a list that shows which particular species are in danger of extinction. It helps determine what species require conservation and further attention. The Red List is a library of information that can be used in biodiversity decision-making. 

Scientific Research

The IUCN Red List data is a source of information and reference used by many research institutions worldwide. The IUCN uses a website with all the details and data. This contains information on different kinds of species that are endangered or on the brink of extinction. The website makes the process simple and easy to download the data and use it for research purposes.

Many scientific journals and conservation articles cite the IUCN Red List and its vital contribution to conservation planning.

Informing Policy and Convention

The multilateral environmental agreements use the IUCN Red List to make informed decisions. It guides international treaties such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and Convention on Migratory Species.

The IUCN Red List is also a data source for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They use the list to determine their progress in achieving sustainable development goals.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) relies on data from the IUCN Red List. They used the data to calculate the Red List Index (RLI). The RLI is a crucial indicator of biodiversity and is used to monitor progress and achievements toward their targets.

Another importance of the IUCN Red List is in assessing freshwater species. The Ramsar convention uses this information to select sites for freshwater biodiversity.

The Red List is a great reference and an essential source of information for many other conventions and policy platforms. After analyzing the Red List data, many decisions are made, and information is reviewed. This is useful in making improved and wiser decisions.

Influences Resource Allocations

Many foundations and funding organizations depend heavily on the IUCN Red List data to guide conservation investments. Many species of animals are endangered and vulnerable requiring immediate conservation measures.

Foundations interested in conservation use the Red List assessments to determine which species they should focus on.

Organizations such as the Global Environmental Facility use information from the Red List to guide their resource allocations. The Red List is essential for determining which species of plants or animals to put higher on the conservation list.

The IUCN Red List also provides information on which regions have minor species populations and what should be done to protect them.

Check out this list of the top wildlife organizations in North America.

Guides Conservation Planning

Conservation planning occurs in large part due to the IUCN Red List. The Red List is essential in identifying key biodiversity areas that can be used for conservation. 

Endangered or critically endangered species must be relocated to areas where they can thrive and survive. A good indicator of these areas is the Red List. The list has all the essential information and criteria that the conservation sites need.

Want to find out the official mammal of your state? Find out here.

Improves Decision-Making

The IUCN Red List is often crucial in environmental impact assessments. Decision-makers use the Red List to inform them of the potential environmental impacts of implementing proposed projects. 

Some projects can have adverse consequences on particular species or their habitats. The thoroughly researched information from seasoned conservationists in the IUCN quickly points this out to prevent causing harm.

The IUCN Red List is used in site rehabilitation planning and biodiversity management. The IUCN explores all the possibilities that can help reduce any negative impacts on biodiversity, fostering sustainable production. 

The mining, petrochemical, and aggregate sectors benefit from the wealth of information on the Red List about various species’ distribution and conservation statuses.

Please read this article I have written to find out ten keystone species of North America.

Raising Awareness

The IUCN updates information on the Red List. Species that have increased the risk of extinction are no longer threatened or endangered and are newly threatened species. 

The new information evokes interest from the media. Many articles are written and posted online, with information printed in newspapers and discussed on radio and TV. This dramatically raises public awareness of the status of different species and the environmental threats they face. 

Students and teachers use the IUCN Red List website worldwide for their projects and classwork.

Contributes to Human Health and Livelihood

The IUCN Red List is not simple. It has crucial information for the health and existence of human beings. Researchers in the health sector will investigate the distribution of species, most concentrating on suspected or known carriers of diseases. 

Without measures and solutions, such species can easily infect humans or domestic animals with life-threatening illnesses.

Furthermore, assessed IUCN Red List species can be essential for human health. The Red List can highlight plant species that have medicinal value and their benefits. This way, they can be protected to secure the livelihood and health of all humans.

Updates on the Red list

Many people think that the Red List is about endangered species. While this is true, they also help to discover new species. The species at the top of the list are at higher risk of extinction within a short period. At times, a species is uplifted, and its status changes from threatened to endangered or critically endangered. 

Some species are downlisted because they are no longer at risk. More new species are added to the list of threatened or endangered. The IUCN Red List helps to protect biodiversity.

I have written an article about ten of the most endangered articles. You can read it here.