With the generous support of our donors, and in collaboration with partners from around the world, IUCN-CEM is leading and supporting different initiatives worldwide in order to apply the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria. These initiatives are implemented globally by IUCN, regionally through alliances between IUCN and partner organizations, and performed nationally and locally by other partners.
So far, the RLE global standard for assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse has been tested on more than 50 ecosystems spanning six continents and three oceans. Currently, several sub-national, national (outlined in yellow) and larger regional (in red) ecosystem assessments are being undertaken worldwide (Rodríguez et al, 2012):
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In America, the RLE team is generating an overall analysis of the status of terrestrial ecosystems from Alaska to Patagonia. The initial assessment of forest ecosystems through the application of Criteria A and B has already been completed at the continental level, and analyses at the national level are well on their way. Over the next few months, further analysis will be completed for non-forest ecosystems, as well as for the application of Criteria C and D for data-rich ecosystems.
In addition to the continental effort, analyses at other scales are also being performed across the Americas. These include national Red Lists of Ecosystems for Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Venezuela, and sub-national red lists of ecosystems for five states in Brazil and Ecuador’s Amazon region. Furthermore, Ecuador and Brazil have initiated the process to complete an RLE assessment at the national level, while the RLE team is helping initiate the conversations to conduct national assessments in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay.
In Australia, assessments of individual ecosystems have been key for scientific development of the Red List of Ecosystems criteria, and are informing ecosystem management and verifying and strengthening listing assessments under national legislation.
In Madagascar, in conjunction with the Malagasy government and local partners, IUCN will participate in Red List of Ecosystem assessments in conjunction with Red List of Threatened Species assessments in one of the most biodiverse areas of the world. This will provide a first example of joint species and ecosystems analyses for a more comprehensive biodiversity risk assessment to inform land use and strategic conservation planning.
In China, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) recently confirmed that they are about to initiate a 3 year project for RLE in China. They are developing a work plan to start the RLE work in late 2016 which will cover the whole of China and the Provinces. While MEP will lead on this project, the research work will be implemented by 3 centers of the China Academy of Science (Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, the Research Centre of Ecology and Environmental Science, and the Institute of Botany). MEP re-affirmed their desire to have support from IUCN, including for further assessor training; quality control and peer review; and technical support. This builds on the first RLE training workshop for assessors, which took place in October 2015, together with preliminary discussions on ecosystem typology, data requirements, opportunities, and challenges that has already started.