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July 28, 2016. Life / The IUCN Red List

Last wake-up call for species conservation?

We are now at a crucial crossroads for saving life on Earth. The widespread loss of tropical forests, the degradation of coral reefs and the overarching threat of climate change, are not a crisis of the future, they are staring us in the face right now

Jane Smart, Craig Hilton Taylor, Russell A. Mittermeier

What about the future of conservation?

The IUCN Red List needs to become the Earth’s “barometer of life”.  What is more, in addition to understanding the conservation status of the majority of the world’s vertebrate species, we also need to make the Red List truly representative by more than doubling the number of non-vertebrate species assessed by 2020, including lesser known groups of invertebrates, plants, and fungi.  Often overlooked, these species are vital to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems, and ultimately human life.

The year 2020 is the end of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity and the end point for the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. We must work globally and determinedly to meet Target #12, which states: “By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species will have been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, will have been improved and sustained”.

Conservation is sometimes mistakenly seen as a hobby for a segment of affluent society that cares about nature.  However, conservation must be seen as a central component of all efforts to develop in a truly sustainable manner, and species conservation is fundamental to making such a development a reality.


This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series THE IUCN RED LIST (2014)


The IUCN Red List

50 Years of Conservation

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