Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Citations (Scopus)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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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

Cite this

Keith, D. A., Rodriguez, J. P., Rodriguez-Clark, K. M., Nicholson, E., Aapala, K., Alonso, A., ... Zambrano-Martinez, S. (2013). Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. PLoS One, 8(5), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062111
Keith, David A. ; Rodriguez, Jon Paul ; Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M. ; Nicholson, Emily ; Aapala, Kaisu ; Alonso, Alfonso ; Asmussen, Marianne ; Bachman, Steven ; Basset, Alberto ; Barrow, Edmund ; Benson, John ; Bishop, Melanie ; Bonifacio, Ronald ; Brooks, Thomas ; Burgman, Mark ; Comer, Patrick ; Comin, Francisco ; Essl, Franz ; Faber-Langendoen, Don ; Fairweather, Peter ; Holdaway, Robert ; Jennings, Michael ; Kingsford, Richard ; Lester, Rebecca ; MAC NALLY, Ralph ; McCarthy, Michael ; Moat, Justin ; Oliveira-Miranda, Maria ; Pisanu, Phil ; Poulin, Brigitte ; Regan, Tracey ; Riecken, Uwe ; Spalding, Mark ; Zambrano-Martinez, 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, Rodriguez, JP, Rodriguez-Clark, KM, Nicholson, E, Aapala, K, Alonso, A, Asmussen, M, Bachman, S, Basset, A, Barrow, E, Benson, J, Bishop, M, Bonifacio, R, Brooks, T, Burgman, M, Comer, P, Comin, F, Essl, F, Faber-Langendoen, D, Fairweather, P, Holdaway, R, Jennings, M, Kingsford, R, Lester, R, MAC NALLY, R, McCarthy, M, Moat, J, Oliveira-Miranda, M, Pisanu, P, Poulin, B, Regan, T, Riecken, U, Spalding, M & Zambrano-Martinez, S 2013, 'Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems', PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062111

Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. / Keith, David A.; Rodriguez, Jon Paul; Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M.; Nicholson, Emily; Aapala, Kaisu; Alonso, Alfonso; Asmussen, Marianne; Bachman, Steven; Basset, Alberto; Barrow, Edmund; Benson, John; Bishop, Melanie; Bonifacio, Ronald; Brooks, Thomas; Burgman, Mark; Comer, Patrick; Comin, Francisco; Essl, Franz; Faber-Langendoen, Don; Fairweather, Peter; Holdaway, Robert; Jennings, Michael; Kingsford, Richard; Lester, Rebecca; MAC NALLY, Ralph; McCarthy, Michael; Moat, Justin; Oliveira-Miranda, Maria; Pisanu, Phil; Poulin, Brigitte; Regan, Tracey; Riecken, Uwe; Spalding, Mark; Zambrano-Martinez, Sergio.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 5, 2013, p. 1-25.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems

AU - Keith, David A.

AU - Rodriguez, Jon Paul

AU - Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M.

AU - Nicholson, Emily

AU - Aapala, Kaisu

AU - Alonso, Alfonso

AU - Asmussen, Marianne

AU - Bachman, Steven

AU - Basset, Alberto

AU - Barrow, Edmund

AU - Benson, John

AU - Bishop, Melanie

AU - Bonifacio, Ronald

AU - Brooks, Thomas

AU - Burgman, Mark

AU - Comer, Patrick

AU - Comin, Francisco

AU - Essl, Franz

AU - Faber-Langendoen, Don

AU - Fairweather, Peter

AU - Holdaway, Robert

AU - Jennings, Michael

AU - Kingsford, Richard

AU - Lester, Rebecca

AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

AU - McCarthy, Michael

AU - Moat, Justin

AU - Oliveira-Miranda, Maria

AU - Pisanu, Phil

AU - Poulin, Brigitte

AU - Regan, Tracey

AU - Riecken, Uwe

AU - Spalding, Mark

AU - Zambrano-Martinez, Sergio

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

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.

AB - 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.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0062111

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0062111

M3 - Article

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JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

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Keith DA, Rodriguez JP, Rodriguez-Clark KM, Nicholson E, Aapala K, Alonso A et al. Scientific Foundations for an IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. PLoS One. 2013;8(5):1-25. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062111