Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 610-614.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015272

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Preparation of the China Biodiversity Red List and its significance for biodiversity conservation within China

Chunxin Zang1, Lei Cai2, Jiaqi Li3, Xiaopu Wu1, Xiaoguang Li4, Junsheng Li1,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
    2 Department of Nature and Ecology Conservation, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100035
    3 Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Nanjing 210042
    4 Bafar Group Co., Ltd, Binzhou, Shangdong 256603
  • Received:2015-10-10 Accepted:2016-03-16 Online:2016-05-20 Published:2018-08-09
  • Contact: Li Junsheng


China started to use the IUCN Red List Criteria of Threatened Species to assess endangered species in the early 1980s. Although the Species Red List of China has been widely cited both at home and abroad, there are still some imperfections in the red list. In 2008, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Academy of Science started the project of the China Biodiversity Red List in order to further the understanding of threats to biodiversity in China and to improve the scientific basis of biodiversity conservation. The China Biodiversity Red List: Higher Plants and the Biodiversity Red List of China: Vertebrates were published in September 2013 and May 2015, respectively. Compiling of the Biodiversity Red List of China was a large systematic project, over 500 experts from relevant fields participated the exhaustive assessment of the threat to 34,450 higher plant species and 4,357 vertebrate species (not including marine fishes) in China. This assessment was the largest scale so far which provided the most complete information set for the widest scope of organisms in China. For instance, it summed up the number of known vertebrate and higher plant species in China and confirmed worldwide species richness rankings of the country; it improved the IUCN Red List assessment system as well; it assessed and analyzed the degree of threats to and the differences in distribution of known higher plants and vertebrates in China; and it assessed and analyzed the conditions threatening higher plants and vertebrates. The most prevalent factors threatening higher plants and vertebrates were habitat loss and degradation caused by human activities. The Biodiversity Red List of China will have profoundly influences on biodiversity protection and management in the country.

Key words: biodiversity, red list, IUCN, evaluation criteria