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Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems

Keith, David A., Rodriguez, Jon Paul, Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M., Nicholson, Emily, Aapala, Kaisu, Alonso, Alfonso, Asmussen, Marianne, Bachman, Steven, Basset, Alberto, Barrow, Edmund G., Benson, John S., Bishop, Melanie J., Bonifacio, Ronald, Brooks, Thomas M., Burgman, Mark A., Comer, Patrick, Comin, Francisco A., Essl, Franz, Faber-Langendoen, Don, Fairweather, Peter G., Holdaway, Robert J., Jennings, Michael, Kingsford, Richard T., Lester, Rebecca E., Mac Nally, Ralph, McCarthy, Michael A., Moat, Justin, Oliveira-Miranda, Maria A., Pisanu, Phil, Poulin, Brigitte, Regan, Tracey J., Riecken, Uwe, Spalding, Mark D. and Zambrano-Martinez, Sergio 2013, Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems, PLoS one, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 1-25, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062111.

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Title Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems
Author(s) Keith, David A.
Rodriguez, Jon Paul
Rodriguez-Clark, Kathryn M.
Nicholson, EmilyORCID iD for Nicholson, Emily
Aapala, Kaisu
Alonso, Alfonso
Asmussen, Marianne
Bachman, Steven
Basset, Alberto
Barrow, Edmund G.
Benson, John S.
Bishop, Melanie J.
Bonifacio, Ronald
Brooks, Thomas M.
Burgman, Mark A.
Comer, Patrick
Comin, Francisco A.
Essl, Franz
Faber-Langendoen, Don
Fairweather, Peter G.
Holdaway, Robert J.
Jennings, Michael
Kingsford, Richard T.
Lester, Rebecca E.ORCID iD for Lester, Rebecca E.
Mac Nally, Ralph
McCarthy, Michael A.
Moat, Justin
Oliveira-Miranda, Maria A.
Pisanu, Phil
Poulin, Brigitte
Regan, Tracey J.
Riecken, Uwe
Spalding, Mark D.
Zambrano-Martinez, Sergio
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 8
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 25
Total pages 25
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2013-05-10
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) biodiversity
community ecology
ecological risk
ecological environments
global change ecology
conservation science
ecological metrics
restoration ecology
systems ecology
theoretical ecology
theoretical biology
research article
Summary  An understanding of risks to biodiversity is needed for planning action to slow current rates of decline and secure ecosystem services for future human use. Although the IUCN Red List criteria provide an effective assessment protocol for species, a standard global assessment of risks to higher levels of biodiversity is currently limited. In 2008, IUCN initiated development of risk assessment criteria to support a global Red List of ecosystems. We present a new conceptual model for ecosystem risk assessment founded on a synthesis of relevant ecological theories. To support the model, we review key elements of ecosystem definition and introduce the concept of ecosystem collapse, an analogue of species extinction. The model identifies four distributional and functional symptoms of ecosystem risk as a basis for assessment criteria: a) rates of decline in ecosystem distribution; b) restricted distributions with continuing declines or threats; c) rates of environmental (abiotic) degradation; and d) rates of disruption to biotic processes. A fifth criterion, e) quantitative estimates of the risk of ecosystem collapse, enables integrated assessment of multiple processes and provides a conceptual anchor for the other criteria. We present the theoretical rationale for the construction and interpretation of each criterion. The assessment protocol and threat categories mirror those of the IUCN Red List of species. A trial of the protocol on terrestrial, subterranean, freshwater and marine ecosystems from around the world shows that its concepts are workable and its outcomes are robust, that required data are available, and that results are consistent with assessments carried out by local experts and authorities. The new protocol provides a consistent, practical and theoretically grounded framework for establishing a systematic Red List of the world’s ecosystems. This will complement the Red List of species and strengthen global capacity to report on and monitor the status of biodiversity.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0062111
Field of Research 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology)
Socio Economic Objective 960599 Ecosystem Assessment and Management not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Public Library of Science
Free to Read? Yes
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