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Climate Change Impact on Species

Context:

The recent update of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, revealed at the 28th Conference of Parties, highlights the growing impacts of climate change on a wide array of species. The updated list comprises 157,190 species, with 44,016 facing the threat of extinction.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the IUCN Red List Report
  2. IUCN Red List Overview

Key Highlights of the IUCN Red List Report

Species Threatened by Climate Change:
  • Various species, from Atlantic salmon to green turtles, are increasingly endangered due to climate change.
  • The IUCN Director General stresses the need for urgent and ambitious climate action to address species decline.
  • The report highlights the interconnectedness of climate and biodiversity crises, advocating collaborative efforts for sustainable solutions.
Freshwater Fish Assessment:
  • The first comprehensive assessment of global freshwater fish species is unveiled.
  • 25% of assessed freshwater fish species face extinction risks.
  • Contributing factors include climate change, pollution, overfishing, and invasive species.
Atlantic Salmon Decline:
  • Atlantic salmon, ray-finned fish in the North Atlantic Ocean basin, declined by 23% (2006-2020).
  • This shift moved them from the “Least Concern” to “Near Threatened” category.
Green Turtle Populations:
  • Central South Pacific and East Pacific green turtle populations are respectively classified as “Endangered” and “Vulnerable.”
  • Climate change impacts their life cycle, affecting hatching success and food sources.
Big-Leaf Mahogany Status:
  • Big-leaf mahogany, a sought-after timber tree, transitions from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered.”
  • Factors include unsustainable harvest, urban encroachment, and illegal logging, leading to a 60% reduction over 180 years.
Scimitar-Horned Oryx and Saiga Antelope:
  • Scimitar-horned oryx, a desert antelope, moves from “Extinct in the Wild” to “Endangered” due to successful reintroduction efforts in the Republic of Chad.
  • Saiga antelope improves from “Critically Endangered” to “Near Threatened” due to conservation measures.

IUCN Red List Overview

Purpose and Significance:
  • The IUCN Red List is a leading global tool for evaluating the risk of extinction in animals, fungi, and plant species.
  • It is universally accessible, providing a crucial indicator of global biodiversity health.
  • Offers comprehensive insights into species’ characteristics, threats, and conservation measures, influencing informed conservation decisions and policies.
Categories and Extinction Risk:
  • The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species, ranging from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct).
  • Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), and Vulnerable (VU) species are classified as threatened with extinction.
Role in Global Goals:
  • Serves as a key indicator for the Sustainable Development Goals and Aichi Targets, aligning with broader international conservation efforts.
Green Status of Species:
  • Introduces the IUCN Green Status of Species, assessing the recovery of species’ populations and gauging conservation success.
  • Eight Green Status Categories include Extinct in the Wild, Critically Depleted, Largely Depleted, Moderately Depleted, Slightly Depleted, Fully Recovered, Non-Depleted, and Indeterminate.
Conservation Action Assessment:
  • The Green Status assessment evaluates the impact of conservation actions on the current Red List status of species.
  • Offers a dynamic perspective on the effectiveness of conservation efforts and their outcomes.

-Source: IUCN


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