Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems

David A. Keith, Jon Paul Rodríguez, Kathryn M. Rodríguez-Clark, Emily Nicholson, Kaisu Aapala, Alfonso Alonso, Marianne Asmussen, Steven Bachman, Alberto Basset, Edmund G. Barrow, John S. Benson, Melanie J. Bishop, Ronald Bonifacio, Thomas M. Brooks, Mark A. Burgman, Patrick Comer, Francisco A. Comín, Franz Essl, Don Faber-Langendoen, Peter G. Fairweather & 14 others Robert J. Holdaway, Michael Jennings, Richard T. Kingsford, Rebecca E. Lester, Ralph Mac Nally, Michael A. McCarthy, Justin Moat, María A. Oliveira-Miranda, Phil Pisanu, Brigitte Poulin, Tracey J. Regan, Uwe Riecken, Mark D. Spalding, Sergio Zambrano-Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

An understanding of risks to biodiversity is needed for planning action to slow current rates of decline and secure ecosystem services for future human use. Although the IUCN Red List criteria provide an effective assessment protocol for species, a standard global assessment of risks to higher levels of biodiversity is currently limited. In 2008, IUCN initiated development of risk assessment criteria to support a global Red List of ecosystems. We present a new conceptual model for ecosystem risk assessment founded on a synthesis of relevant ecological theories. To support the model, we review key elements of ecosystem definition and introduce the concept of ecosystem collapse, an analogue of species extinction. The model identifies four distributional and functional symptoms of ecosystem risk as a basis for assessment criteria: A) rates of decline in ecosystem distribution; B) restricted distributions with continuing declines or threats; C) rates of environmental (abiotic) degradation; and D) rates of disruption to biotic processes. A fifth criterion, E) quantitative estimates of the risk of ecosystem collapse, enables integrated assessment of multiple processes and provides a conceptual anchor for the other criteria. We present the theoretical rationale for the construction and interpretation of each criterion. The assessment protocol and threat categories mirror those of the IUCN Red List of species. A trial of the protocol on terrestrial, subterranean, freshwater and marine ecosystems from around the world shows that its concepts are workable and its outcomes are robust, that required data are available, and that results are consistent with assessments carried out by local experts and authorities. The new protocol provides a consistent, practical and theoretically grounded framework for establishing a systematic Red List of the world's ecosystems. This will complement the Red List of species and strengthen global capacity to report on and monitor the status of biodiversity.

LanguageEnglish
Article numbere62111
Pages1-25
Number of pages25
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2013

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Ecosystems
Ecosystem
ecosystems
Biodiversity
risk assessment
biodiversity
Risk assessment
risk estimate
Biological Extinction
Aquatic ecosystems
Process Assessment (Health Care)
ecosystem services
signs and symptoms (animals and humans)
Anchors
Clinical Protocols
complement
Fresh Water
extinction
planning
Mirrors

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Cite this

Keith, D. A., Rodríguez, J. P., Rodríguez-Clark, K. M., Nicholson, E., Aapala, K., Alonso, A., ... Zambrano-Martínez, S. (2013). Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 8(5), 1-25. [e62111]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062111
Keith, David A. ; Rodríguez, Jon Paul ; Rodríguez-Clark, Kathryn M. ; Nicholson, Emily ; Aapala, Kaisu ; Alonso, Alfonso ; Asmussen, Marianne ; Bachman, Steven ; Basset, Alberto ; Barrow, Edmund G. ; Benson, John S. ; Bishop, Melanie J. ; Bonifacio, Ronald ; Brooks, Thomas M. ; Burgman, Mark A. ; Comer, Patrick ; Comín, Francisco A. ; Essl, Franz ; Faber-Langendoen, Don ; Fairweather, Peter G. ; Holdaway, Robert J. ; Jennings, Michael ; Kingsford, Richard T. ; Lester, Rebecca E. ; Nally, Ralph Mac ; McCarthy, Michael A. ; Moat, Justin ; Oliveira-Miranda, María A. ; Pisanu, Phil ; Poulin, Brigitte ; Regan, Tracey J. ; Riecken, Uwe ; Spalding, Mark D. ; Zambrano-Martínez, Sergio. / Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems. In: PLoS ONE. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 5. pp. 1-25.
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Keith, DA, Rodríguez, JP, Rodríguez-Clark, KM, Nicholson, E, Aapala, K, Alonso, A, Asmussen, M, Bachman, S, Basset, A, Barrow, EG, Benson, JS, Bishop, MJ, Bonifacio, R, Brooks, TM, Burgman, MA, Comer, P, Comín, FA, Essl, F, Faber-Langendoen, D, Fairweather, PG, Holdaway, RJ, Jennings, M, Kingsford, RT, Lester, RE, Nally, RM, McCarthy, MA, Moat, J, Oliveira-Miranda, MA, Pisanu, P, Poulin, B, Regan, TJ, Riecken, U, Spalding, MD & Zambrano-Martínez, S 2013, 'Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems', PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 5, e62111, pp. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062111

Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems. / Keith, David A.; Rodríguez, Jon Paul; Rodríguez-Clark, Kathryn M.; Nicholson, Emily; Aapala, Kaisu; Alonso, Alfonso; Asmussen, Marianne; Bachman, Steven; Basset, Alberto; Barrow, Edmund G.; Benson, John S.; Bishop, Melanie J.; Bonifacio, Ronald; Brooks, Thomas M.; Burgman, Mark A.; Comer, Patrick; Comín, Francisco A.; Essl, Franz; Faber-Langendoen, Don; Fairweather, Peter G.; Holdaway, Robert J.; Jennings, Michael; Kingsford, Richard T.; Lester, Rebecca E.; Nally, Ralph Mac; McCarthy, Michael A.; Moat, Justin; Oliveira-Miranda, María A.; Pisanu, Phil; Poulin, Brigitte; Regan, Tracey J.; Riecken, Uwe; Spalding, Mark D.; Zambrano-Martínez, Sergio.

In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, No. 5, e62111, 10.05.2013, p. 1-25.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Rodríguez, Jon Paul

AU - Rodríguez-Clark, Kathryn M.

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AU - Benson, John S.

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AU - Brooks, Thomas M.

AU - Burgman, Mark A.

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AU - Moat, Justin

AU - Oliveira-Miranda, María A.

AU - Pisanu, Phil

AU - Poulin, Brigitte

AU - Regan, Tracey J.

AU - Riecken, Uwe

AU - Spalding, Mark D.

AU - Zambrano-Martínez, Sergio

N1 - Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

PY - 2013/5/10

Y1 - 2013/5/10

N2 - An understanding of risks to biodiversity is needed for planning action to slow current rates of decline and secure ecosystem services for future human use. Although the IUCN Red List criteria provide an effective assessment protocol for species, a standard global assessment of risks to higher levels of biodiversity is currently limited. In 2008, IUCN initiated development of risk assessment criteria to support a global Red List of ecosystems. We present a new conceptual model for ecosystem risk assessment founded on a synthesis of relevant ecological theories. To support the model, we review key elements of ecosystem definition and introduce the concept of ecosystem collapse, an analogue of species extinction. The model identifies four distributional and functional symptoms of ecosystem risk as a basis for assessment criteria: A) rates of decline in ecosystem distribution; B) restricted distributions with continuing declines or threats; C) rates of environmental (abiotic) degradation; and D) rates of disruption to biotic processes. A fifth criterion, E) quantitative estimates of the risk of ecosystem collapse, enables integrated assessment of multiple processes and provides a conceptual anchor for the other criteria. We present the theoretical rationale for the construction and interpretation of each criterion. The assessment protocol and threat categories mirror those of the IUCN Red List of species. A trial of the protocol on terrestrial, subterranean, freshwater and marine ecosystems from around the world shows that its concepts are workable and its outcomes are robust, that required data are available, and that results are consistent with assessments carried out by local experts and authorities. The new protocol provides a consistent, practical and theoretically grounded framework for establishing a systematic Red List of the world's ecosystems. This will complement the Red List of species and strengthen global capacity to report on and monitor the status of biodiversity.

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Keith DA, Rodríguez JP, Rodríguez-Clark KM, Nicholson E, Aapala K, Alonso A et al. Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems. PLoS ONE. 2013 May 10;8(5):1-25. e62111. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062111