IUCN unveils Green Status to gauge recovery success

The IUCN lists the California condor as critically endangered on its Red List, but its Green Status indicates the success of conservation efforts to prevent its extinction. Credit: USFWS

The International Union for Conservation of Species has created a new Green Status of Species, intended to measure how close a species is to being fully ecologically functional and how much it has recovered through conservation efforts.

The new Green Status of Species was applied for the first time in a paper published in the journal Conservation Biology, which provides assessments for 181 species. Among them are the pink pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri), which was saved from extinction by conservation measures, and the gray wolf (Canis lupus), which is rebounding but far from its historical baseline.

The IUCN will integrate the Green Status of Species into its Red List of Threatened Species in an effort to provide a fuller picture of species’ extinction risk and recovery progress. The two measures can provide very different views. Species at low risk of extinction may still have depleted populations. And species that are critically endangered, such as the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), may be on their way back thanks to conservation efforts.

Read more from the IUCN.