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Conservation Issues and Endangered Species

The Conservation Status

The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that endangered species not existing/living. 

Many factors are taken into account when assessing the conservation status of a species – the status is not based simply on the numbers remaining, but on the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats, etc.

199 countries have signed an accord agreeing to create biodiversity action plans to protect endangered and other threatened species. (In the US this plan is called A Species Recovery Plan.)
 

IUCN Red List Endangered species

The IUCN Red List refers to a specific category of threatened species, and may include critically endangered species. The IUCN Red List uses the term endangered species as a specific category of imperilment, rather than as a general term. Under the IUCN categories and criteria, endangered species is between critically endangered and vulnerable – see below IUCN website tab. Please note that critically endangered species may also be counted as endangered species and fill all the criteria. The more general term used by the IUCN for species at risk of extinction is threatened species, which also includes the less-at-risk category of vulnerable species together with endangered and critically endangered. 

Vulnerable Species.png

IUCN categories include:
  • Extinct: non survive at all
  • Extinct in the wild: captive individuals survive, but there is no free-living, natural population. 
  • Critically endangered: faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future.
  • Endangered: faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future. 
  • Vulnerable: faces a high risk of extinction in the medium-term. 
  • Near threatened: may be considered threatened in the near future. 
  • Least concern: no immediate threat to the survival of the species.
     
Impact on biodiversity and endangered species:

Humans have an impact on the species and their environment. In order to conserve the biodiversity of the planet, one must take into consideration the reasons why so many species are becoming endangered:

  • Habitat loss - the most widespread cause of species endangerment 
  • Pollution
  • Over-exploitation (over harvesting)
  • Disease 
  • Climate change 

Humans also set standards for which species they think should be saved and which species they find unimportant or undesirable helping preserve endangered species and maintain biodiversity. 
 

Currently on the red list:

Engendered species: 
Rosewood – Aniba rosaeodora  - known as Brazilian Rosewood (also as "Rio Rosewood" or "Bahia Rosewood")  - (over-logging -furniture, musical instruments; high price of fragrant wood)

Vulnerable species: 
Mysore Sandalwood Santalum album – (over harvesting, management issues, difficult propagation, high value of wood).

Threatened: 
Frankincense – Boswellia sacra  (over harvesting, change of lifestyle in the area, high price).  Please note that under current taxonomical classification  Boswellia cartierii is classified as Boswellia sacra!

The situation of many other species relevant to aromatherapy is worrying, example: Atlas cedarwod in Tunisia

How to stay informed:
Check the status of plants relevant to aromatherapy on IUCN Red List ; please note some plant articles in Wikipedia also list conservation status
See articles in Cropwatch Files section and join the mail list http://www.cropwatch.org/