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Title: IUCN Red List of Ecosystems
Authors: Matlala (SANBI), Maphale
Skowno (SANBI), Andrew
Slingsby, Jasper
Altwegg, Res
Keywords: Red List
Issue Date: 21-Jun-2018
Series/Report no.: Biodiversity Planning Forum;
Abstract: In South Africa, ecosystems listed as either Critically Endangered or Endangered are prioritised for conservation efforts which are intended to reduce the rate of ecosystem collapse and species extinction. Previous assessments were based on a nationally accepted and scientifically rigorous framework, but the IUCN have recently published a new assessment framework that has subtle differences to the existing South African system. There is pressure for South Africa to comply with the international standards such that the national assessment can be comparable with other assessments across the globe. The technical methods of the IUCN and South African Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) were tested on South African terrestrial ecosystems focusing on two criteria that assess spatial aspects and one focusing on functional aspects of ecosystem decline. Comparatively, there are differences in the number of threatened ecosystems identified by both technical methods which are mostly owed to (i) the proposed IUCN RLE technical method for subcriterion B1 (extent of occurrence) and (ii) sub-criterion A2b which identifies ecosystems that are likely to be at risk in the near future. Despite these differences, there are immense benefits for complying with the international standards. These include (i) the assessment being repeatable, (ii) consistent application and comparison across all realms, (iii) contribution towards the establishment of the global list of ecosystems at risk of collapse and (iv) eligibility for international funding on biodiversity conservation and research.
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