Potentially threatened: a Data Deficient flag for conservation management
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Data Deficient species (DD) comprise a significant portion of the total number of species listed within the IUCN Red List. Although they are not classified within one of the threat categories, they may still face high extinction risks. However, due to limited data available to infer their extinction risk reliably, it is unlikely that the assessment of the true status of Data Deficient species would be possible before many species decline to extinction. An appropriate measure to resolve these problems would be to introduce a flag of potentially threatened species within the Data Deficient category [i.e., DD(PT)]. Such a flag would represent a temporary Red List status for listed Data Deficient species that are, based on the available direct evidence and/or indirect indices, likely to be assigned to one of the threat categories, but where current data remains insufficient for a complete classification. The use of such a flag could increase the focus of the scientific community and conservation decision-makers on such species, thus avoiding the risk that necessary conservation measures are implemented too late. As such, establishment of the DD(PT) category as a kind of alarm for priority species could be beneficial.
KeywordsData Deficient Endangered species Extinction risk IUCN Red List Threatened species
The authors acknowledge the sponsorship provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Federal German Ministry for Education and Research, as well as the support by the Invacost research program, and by the Project No. 173045, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.
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