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Latin America presents results after the application of IUCN Red List of Ecosystems protocol

Since 2012, starting point of the project “From Alaska to Patagonia: IUCN Red List of the Continental Ecosystems of the Americas”, up to this date, many advances have been accomplished regarding risk assessments of ecosystems collapse. At the moment, there are already four national lists, and Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile have joined Venezuela, the pioneer, which represents a step further towards the planned goal of having all ecosystems of the world assessed.

Since 2012, the project “From Alaska to Patagonia: IUCN Red List of the Continental Ecosystems of the Americas”, has been developed under the institutional coordination of the IUCN, Provita and NatureServe, with the participation of important international and national action institutions, and the financing of the Moore Foundation. The main objective of the project has been to assess the conservation status of all American continental ecosystems and one of its results is the development of national red lists of ecosystems. Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica were involved in the development of such lists.

In 2014, during the IV Mesoamerican Congress of Protected Areas, the “Red List of Ecosystems” report was presented for Costa Rica, lead by Bernal Herrera from the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Centro Agronómico Tropical y de Enseñanzas, CATIE) and other Costa Rican researchers. This document included the main results of assessing the risks of ecosystem collapse in Costa Rica. It was then known that from the 41 assessed ecosystems, 39% are threatened, specifically the ecosystems located in the grasslands of Guatuso, San Carlos and Tortuguero, the forest of El General Valley, the Golfo Dulce gulf and the uplands of the peninsula of Osa.

In May 2015, Colombia, under the technical coordination of Andrés Etter from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, and the general coordination of Angela Andrade from Conservation International - Colombia, presented the obtained results. From the 81 ecosystems acknowledged for this analysis in Colombia, 43% are threatened, 22% in critical endangered (CR) and 21% endangered (EN), while 42% showed minimum risk of collapse (LC). According to such results, the more threatened ecosystems are dry ecosystems and wetlands located in the Andean Region and dry forests in the Caribbean Region. Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources, Invemar, and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development actively participated in this initiative.

In June 2015, the Ministry of Environment of Chile presented their results before the Chilean scientific and civil societies. They are currently preparing the final documents for the publication of the Chilean Red List of Ecosystems.

With results from Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile, four American countries have already made their ecosystem risk assessments at a national level, applying the protocol of IUCN Red List of Ecosystems. The first of such assessments were made by Venezuela in 2010, with a second version of it in 2013.

On the other hand, Brazil has also recently presented (June 2015) results of the application of such protocol. Specifically in two study cases: Flatland of West Bay and the Ecosystems of the Marshland. Brazil is part of the project “the Consolidation of the Portfolio of National Relations of the Network of South American Ecosystems”, which is coordinated by IUCN-Brazil, technically advised by Provita, and the participation of multiple academic and government institutions and organizations of the civil society. The plan for Brazil, as other countries of the continent, is to develop its National Red List of Ecosystems using the IUCN standards.

With the obtained results in the American continent, we get closer to achieving the goal of having assessed all ecosystems of the world by 2025.   

Provita Sep 15, 2015

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