Impacts of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems on conservation policy and practice

Lucie M. Bland, Emily Nicholson, Rebecca M. Miller, Angela Andrade, Aurélien Carré, Andres Etter, José Rafael Ferrer-Paris, Bernal Herrera, Tytti Kontula, Arild Lindgaard, Patricio Pliscoff, Andrew Skowno, Marcos Valderrábano, Irene Zager, David A. Keith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


In 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature adopted the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) criteria as the global standard for assessing risks to terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems. Five years on, it is timely to ask what impact this new initiative has had on ecosystem management and conservation. In this policy perspective, we use an impact evaluation framework to distinguish the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of the RLE since its inception. To date, 2,821 ecosystems in 100 countries have been assessed following the RLE protocol. Systematic assessments are complete or underway in 21 countries and two continental regions (the Americas and Europe). Countries with established ecosystem policy infrastructure have already used the RLE to inform legislation, land-use planning, protected area management, monitoring and reporting, and ecosystem management. Impacts are still emerging due to varying pace and commitment to implementation across different countries. In the future, RLE indices based on systematic assessments have high potential to inform global biodiversity reporting. Expanding the coverage of RLE assessments, building capacity and political will to undertake them, and establishing stronger policy instruments to manage red-listed ecosystems will be key to maximizing conservation impacts over the coming decades.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12666
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • conservation practice
  • ecosystem
  • impact
  • IUCN Red List of Ecosystems
  • monitoring
  • policy
  • risk assessment


Dive into the research topics of 'Impacts of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems on conservation policy and practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this