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COURSE: Risk assessments of species extinction and ecosystem collapse

University-level training course on Red Lists of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature completed in Venezuela!

Between September 2018 and January 2019, the training course on risk assessments of species extinction (Red List of Threatened Species, RLTS) and ecosystem collapse (Red List of Ecosystems) was conducted in Caracas, Venezuela. The training was a joint effort between the Red List of Ecosystems Thematic Group (RLE) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), together with the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the same organization.

The course was organized by the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC) and Provita, in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Ecology (CIET), as part of the efforts to strengthen regional capacities to carry out assessments of Red List of Threatened Species and Ecosystems.

It was attended by professionals linked to research, training and management in the areas of taxonomy, ecology, biodiversity, conservation and education. This participation increases the number of conservation professionals and policymakers who understand the biodiversity risk assessment protocols, to improve the implementation of these tools.

Students, facilitators and organizers of the training course on risk assessments of species extinction (Red List of Threatened Species) and ecosystem collapse (Red List of Ecosystems) at the IVIC Ecology Center, Venezuela.

Our goals

With this course we are training the participants in the use of the Red Lists of Species and the Red List of Ecosystems as fundamental tools for the assessment of the state of conservation of biodiversity. This information has many applications in the planning of priorities and actions for conservation and sustainable development, and we hope that participants help to promote its use in public and private institutions." Dr. José R. Ferrer-Paris, course instructor and member of the RLE Thematic Group (Associated Researcher of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research and the NGO Provita).

The RLE and RLTS theoretical-practical course achieved its objective of strengthening the knowledge base on the foundations and application of the IUCN Red Lists protocols. Through the compendium of the best information available and the assessment of a series of criteria and quantitative thresholds, these protocols allow assigning a risk category to each species or ecosystem.

I took the course because I was interested in the assessment of amphibians ... but this course led me to much more than just learning to assess amphibians ... What I liked most was to learn about the key data needed to make assessments in order to encourage research in those areas ... There is still much to be done." Michelle Castellanos, course student.

The information provided by the IUCN Red Lists is an important input to support decision making and the selection of biodiversity conservation strategies, whether at national, regional or global level. For this work to generate reliable and repeatable results, a standardized methodology must be followed, which must be understood in depth by the assessor(s). The joint course of Red Lists represented an opportunity to address the fundamental questions that venezuelan scientists face regarding these methodologies.

As mentioned by Dr. José R. Ferrer-Paris "The group of participants has been (was) very dynamic, providing innovative ideas, and their contributions will help consolidate the leading role of the Venezuelan institutions in the development of these tools that have been adopted worldwide." Thereby agreeing that this type of courses reinforce progress towards the fulfillment of global conservation objectives and the advancement of ecosystem assessments throughout the planet.



 Written by: Lila García

Style and format: Lila García y Clara Gómez

Translation: Claudia Paredes

Provita Mar 21, 2019


IUCN Red List of Ecosystems


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