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June 16, 2016. Life / The IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List, a Barometer of Life

Since its early beginnings in 1949, The IUCN Red List has come a long way, from a simple typescript list of fourteen mammals and thirteen birds, to an increasingly comprehensive and data-rich electronic compendium covering over 73,000 species, subspecies and subpopulations

Jane Smart, Craig Hilton Taylor, Russell A. Mittermeier

The original concept or vision for the list can be attributed to John C. Phillips, but it was Hal Coolidge who produced the initial draft list and turned it into a reality with Sir Peter Scott branding it the “Red Data Book” or “Red List.”

The Red List process has become a massive enterprise involving the IUCN Global Species Programme Staff, partner organizations, and a vast network of scientists and experts in the IUCN Species Survival Commission and partner networks who contribute all the necessary species information to make the Red List the premier product it is today.

The IUCN Red List Partnership developed a ten-year Strategic Plan for the IUCN Red List (2010–2020), which aims to increase the taxonomic coverage of the Red List, to enhance the infrastructure supporting the production of the Red List, and to make the data widely and easily available for better conservation and policy decisions. The target is to make The IUCN Red List a more complete “Barometer of Life.”


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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