Endangered Ecosystems Mapping
Scientists are in the midst of creating a strategy that will help us to better understand and map threatened ecosystems. An international working group of biologists and conservation experts from the IUCN has been developing a ‘red list’ system to spot vanishing ecosystems caused by everything from climate change to clear cutting, according to The Washington Post.
The mission of the IUCN is to coordinate a consultation process leading to a standardized system that will facilitate comparable geographic analyses that separates ecosystem risk assessment from the definition of conservation priorities.
The general consensus in the scientific community is that species Red Lists have been a success, leading to a 20% decline in extinction rapidity. However, some people are skeptical and insist that it will be difficult to come up with a similar set of ecosystem definitions that will survive political pressures and challenges. Overall, the ability to identify and map threatened ecosystems would be very useful according to Luz Esther Sanchez, a marine biologist and ecologist interviewed by the Washington Post. Sanchez explains that areas such as the Venezuelan Mangroves (threatened by sediment and pesticides) are often ignored in favour of more publicized issues that deal with specific endangered species.