Keller, V., N. Zbinden, H. Schmid & B. Volet (2005)

A Case Study in Applying the IUCN Regional Guidelines for National Red Lists and Justifications for their Modification.

Further information

Conserv. Biol. 19: 1827–1834



The World Conservation Union (IUCN) published guidelines to apply the criteria developed for global red lists at subglobal levels. So far only a few national red lists have been prepared according to these regional guidelines. We present a procedure based on the regional guidelines that was developed for the most recent red list of breeding birds in Switzerland. Special attention was given to step 2 of the IUCN regional guidelines, which consists of adapting categories according to an assessment of the extent to which extinction risk of the national population is affected by populations in neighboring countries. To avoid subjective assessments we formalized this "up- and downgrading" procedure by defining rules to answer the questions asked in the regional guidelines. Some modifications to the assessment procedure were introduced to account for the specific situation of applying it to birds as a very mobile group and Switzerland as a small country. The upand downgrading procedure resulted in a change in category for 49 of the 195 bird species assessed. Overall, 9 species were upgraded, 21 species were downgraded by one category, and 19 species were downgraded by two categories. Formalizing step 2 allowed consistent application of the regional guidelines for all species and will make future revisions of the national red list and comparisons between different lists easier.
Key Words: birds, IUCN criteria, species conservation, Switzerland