Prevalence of sustainable and unsustainable use of wild species inferred from the IUCN Red List
Sophie M. E. Marsh, Michael Hoffmann, Neil D Burgess, Thomas M Brooks, Daniel W. S. Challender, Patricia J Cremona, Craig Hilton-Taylor, Flore Lafaye de Micheaux, Gabriela Lichtenstein, Dilys Roe, Monika Bohm
Unsustainable exploitation of wild species represents a serious threat to biodiversity and to the livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples. However, managed, sustainable use has the potential to forestall extinctions, aid recovery, and meet human needs. Here, we infer current prevalence of unsustainable and sustainable biological resource use among species groups; research to date has focused on the former with little consideration of the latter. We analyzed species level data
... 30,923 species from 13 taxonomic groups comprehensively assessed on the IUCN Red List. Our results demonstrate the broad taxonomic prevalence of use, with 40% of species (10,098 of 25,009 from 10 taxonomic groups with adequate data) documented as being used. The main purposes of use are pets, display animals and horticulture, and human consumption. Use is often biologically unsustainable: intentional use is currently considered to be contributing to elevated extinction risk for more than one quarter of all threatened or Near Threatened (NT) species (2,752 to 2,848 of 9,753 species). Of the species used and traded, intentional use threatens 16% (1,597 to 1,631 of 10,098 species). However, 36% of species that are used (3,651 of 10,098 species) have either stable or improving population trends and do not have biological use documented as a threat, including 172 threatened or NT species. It is not yet inferable whether use of the remaining 48% of species is sustainable; we make suggestions for improving use related Red List data to elucidate this. Around a third of species that have use documented as a threat are not currently receiving any species management actions that directly address this threat. Our findings on the prevalence of sustainable and unsustainable use, and variation across taxa, are important for informing international policy-making, including IPBES, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.