Put together by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the IUCN Red List tells us how likely it is for a species to go extinct (such as EN – endangered, VU vulnerable, etc.). But the list does not offer insights into meaningful trends in the status of biodiversity. To address this, the Red List Index (RLI) has been created to show trends in the status of groups of species based only on genuine improvement or deterioration. Right now, RLI is available for birds, mammals, amphibians, cycads (vascular plants), and corals.

Sampled approach

Producing indices of change in extinction risk by comprehensively assessing whole species groups, while feasible for well studied groups with relatively few species, is not suitable for all taxonomic groups. Assessing every species in the larger and lesser known groups which comprise the majority of the world’s biodiversity, such as fungi, invertebrates (particularly insects) and plants, is not practical.

The Red List Index (sampled approach) (SRLI) has been developed in order to determine the threat status and also trends of lesser-known and less charismatic species groups. It is a collaboration between IUCN members and is coordinated through the Institute of Zoology (IoZ), the research division of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The SRLI is based on a representative sample of species selected from taxonomic groups within animals (invertebrates and vertebrates), fungi and plants.

Assessment of the selected species will provide baseline information on the current status of biodiversity. Reassessment at regular intervals will identify changes in threat status over time to provide a more broadly representative picture of biodiversity change.


The aim is that the SRLI will aid in the production of a global biodiversity indicator capable of measuring whether the rate of biodiversity loss has been reduced. In addition, it will help to develop a better understanding of which taxonomic groups, realms or ecosystems are deteriorating the most rapidly, why species are threatened, where they are threatened, what conservation actions exist and which actions are needed. The aim is to provide policy makers, resource managers, scientists, educators, conservation practitioners and the general public with more thorough knowledge of biodiversity change and further tools with which to make informed decisions.

In April 2002 at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 188 Nations committed themselves to actions to: “… achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels…” The RLI has been adopted by the CBD as one of the indicators to measure progress towards this important target, and specifically to monitor changes in threat status of species.

Credit : Wikipedia

Picture Credit : Google 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *