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IUCN Categories

The IUCN (World Conservation Union) developed its Red List Categories to classify species at high risk of global extinction. The general aim of the system is to provide an explicit, objective framework for the classification of species according to their extinction risk. Although the goal is similar, IUCN categories place more emphasis on extinction risk while heritage status ranks emphasize the number of distinct populations of a species. Collectively, species categorized as Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable are considered "Threatened" by the IUCN. The IUCN categories listed in InfoNatura are the most up to date available at the time of the most recent InfoNatura data update. The taxonomy of the species assessed by the IUCN is slightly different than the taxonomy followed in NatureServe's central databases. InfoNatura provides notes about taxonomic differences in the section on IUCN Category Comments in the report for each species. See the IUCN's 2003 Red List of Threatened Species for more information.

IUCN Category Definitions

Abbreviation

Category

Description

EX

Extinct

A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. A taxon is presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times, throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.

EW

Extinct in the Wild

A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalized population (or populations) well outside the past range. A taxon is presumed Extinct in the Wild when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon's life cycle and life form.

CR

Critically Endangered

A taxon is Critically Endangered when the best available evidence (severe population decline, very small population, very small geographic area occupied, or a calculated probability of extinction during the next 10 years of >50%) indicates that it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

EN

Endangered

A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence (large population decline, small population, small geographic area occupied, or a calculated probability of extinction during the next 20 years of >20%) indicates that it is considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

VU

Vulnerable

A taxon is Vulnerable when the best available evidence (substantial population decline, small population, fairly small geographic area occupied, or a calculated probability of extinction during the next 100 years is >10%) indicates that it is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

NT

Near Threatened

A taxon is Near Threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable now, but is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.

LC

Least Concern

A taxon is of Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria and does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.

DD

Data Deficient

A taxon is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status. A taxon in this category may be well studied, and its biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution are lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat. Listing of taxa in this category indicates that more information is required and acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened classification is appropriate.

NE

Not Evaluated

A taxon is Not Evaluated when it is has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

 


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Data last updated: April 2007