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      Toward reassessing data‐deficient species

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          One in 6 species (13,465 species) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is classified as data deficient due to lack of information on their taxonomy, population status, or impact of threats. Despite the chance that many are at high risk of extinction, data-deficient species are typically excluded from global and local conservation priorities, as well as funding schemes. The number of data-deficient species will greatly increase as the IUCN Red List becomes more inclusive of poorly known and speciose groups. A strategic approach is urgently needed to enhance the conservation value of data-deficient assessments. To develop this, we reviewed 2879 data-deficient assessments in 6 animal groups and identified 8 main justifications for assigning data-deficient status (type series, few records, old records, uncertain provenance, uncertain population status or distribution, uncertain threats, taxonomic uncertainty, and new species). Assigning a consistent set of justification tags (i.e., consistent assignment to assessment justifications) to species classified as data deficient is a simple way to achieve more strategic assessments. Such tags would clarify the causes of data deficiency; facilitate the prediction of extinction risk; facilitate comparisons of data deficiency among taxonomic groups; and help prioritize species for reassessment. With renewed efforts, it could be straightforward to prevent thousands of data-deficient species slipping unnoticed toward extinction.

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          Most cited references39

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          The status of the world's land and marine mammals: diversity, threat, and knowledge.

          Knowledge of mammalian diversity is still surprisingly disparate, both regionally and taxonomically. Here, we present a comprehensive assessment of the conservation status and distribution of the world's mammals. Data, compiled by 1700+ experts, cover all 5487 species, including marine mammals. Global macroecological patterns are very different for land and marine species but suggest common mechanisms driving diversity and endemism across systems. Compared with land species, threat levels are higher among marine mammals, driven by different processes (accidental mortality and pollution, rather than habitat loss), and are spatially distinct (peaking in northern oceans, rather than in Southeast Asia). Marine mammals are also disproportionately poorly known. These data are made freely available to support further scientific developments and conservation action.
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            In 2002, world leaders committed, through the Convention on Biological Diversity, to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. We compiled 31 indicators to report on progress toward this target. Most indicators of the state of biodiversity (covering species' population trends, extinction risk, habitat extent and condition, and community composition) showed declines, with no significant recent reductions in rate, whereas indicators of pressures on biodiversity (including resource consumption, invasive alien species, nitrogen pollution, overexploitation, and climate change impacts) showed increases. Despite some local successes and increasing responses (including extent and biodiversity coverage of protected areas, sustainable forest management, policy responses to invasive alien species, and biodiversity-related aid), the rate of biodiversity loss does not appear to be slowing.
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              Conservation Biogeography: assessment and prospect


                Author and article information

                Conservation Biology
                Conservation Biology
                June 2017
                January 18 2017
                June 2017
                : 31
                : 3
                : 531-539
                [1 ]School of BioSciences The University of Melbourne Parkville VIC 3010 Australia
                [2 ]Institute of Zoology Zoological Society of London Regent's Park London NW1 4RY U.K.
                [3 ]School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management University of Queensland St. Lucia QLD 4072 Australia
                [4 ]Division of Biology Imperial College London Silwood Park Ascot SL5 7PY U.K.
                [5 ]Wildlife Conservation Society Global Conservation Programs Bronx NY 10460 U.S.A.
                [6 ]Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research University College London Gower Street London WC1 E6BT U.K.
                © 2017






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