New Conservation Category Rewards Species Success

September 28, 2012

During the September 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Korea, WCS co-sponsored a motion to create a conservation “Green List.” The newly adopted category will feature thriving species, emphasizing that conservation doesn’t merely exist to ward off extinction.

With myriad species on the brink of extinction, it often feels like wildlife conservation is all doom-and-gloom. In reality, our field rests on conservation success stories, and many more lie ahead. We at WCS often think about the American bison, an incredible mammal we've worked to conserve for more than a century. At one time, these beasts of the wild faced extinction, with numbers plummeting to 1,000 individuals in 1906.

Today, our country’s population has grown to approximately 450,000. Although our work is far from over, it’s essential that we celebrate success as we plod ahead, which is why we and our conservation partners sponsored an exciting new motion during the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea: the Green List.

Now adopted by the World Conservation Congress, the Green List ensures that the global conservation community recognizes positivity in addition to negativity; success along with challenge; and hope, when it seems scant.

The Green List will highlight species that are thriving within healthy ecosystems; it will complement the well-known IUCN Red List, which focuses on avoiding extinction.

Speaking about the importance of this new category, WCS President and CEO Dr. Cristián Samper, said, “The conservation community should be giving to the world a positive and proactive vision of success: ­species at or near their natural carrying capacity, as integral parts of fully functional ecosystems. The Green List will be a step in that direction.”

In addition to creating good will, the Green List ensures that conservationists paint well-rounded pictures. As Dr. Samper stated, “Successful species conservation involves the conservation of a species with significant populations, interacting fully with a complete suite of other native species and processes.”

To learn more about the Green List, read:

Nature's blog, "Conservationists to Highlight Successes with Species Green List">>

Mongabay's article, "IUCN to Kick Off Green List for Fully Conserved">>

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