Since 1950, humans have changed ecosystems at a faster rate than in any other period in history. Therefore, it is necessary that public policies have a solid foundation to curb or reduce these losses. However, efforts to monitor the status of ecosystems were hindered by the lack of a consistent scientific framework, with transparent criteria to identify which of these ecosystems were more likely to disappear. Upon recognition of this important scientific void, the IV IUCN World Conservation Congress (Barcelona, Spain, 5-14 October 2008) approved a motion to initiate the development of a global standard for assessing ecosystem risk, which eventually became a new conservation policy tool.
Thereby, the IUCN laid the foundations for the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE), a key tool, since it allows addressing different aspects of public policy from a global and national perspective, and it aids countries to achieve international conservation goals. The joint application of the RLE with other IUCN knowledge products provides a unique opportunity for conservation planning. The RLE was officially recognized by IUCN in 2014.
Since then, the now global standard for assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse has been tested in more than 50 ecosystems spanning six continents and three oceans. Currently, the first continental RLE assessment is being completed, in America, and our database already contains more than 1800 type assessments. The goal is to have a complete assessment of all of the world’s ecosystems by 2025.