Building on IUCN regional red lists to produce lists of species of conservation priority: a model with Irish bees

U. Fitzpatrick, T.E. Murray, Robert Paxton, M.J.F. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


A World Conservation Union (IUCN) regional red list is an objective assessment of regional extinction risk and is not the same as a list of conservation priority species. Recent research reveals the widespread, but incorrect, assumption that IUCN Red List categories represent a hierarchical list of priorities for conservation action. We developed a simple eight-step priority-setting process and applied it to the conservation of bees in Ireland. Our model is based on the national red list but also considers the global significance of the national population; the conservation status at global, continental, and regional levels; key biological, economic, and societal factors; and is compatible with existing conservation agreements and legislation. Throughout Ireland, almost one-third of the bee fauna is threatened (30 of 100 species), but our methodology resulted in a reduced list of only 17 priority species. We did not use the priority species list to broadly categorize species to the conservation action required; instead, we indicated the individual action required for all threatened, near-threatened, and data-deficient species on the national red list based on the IUCN's conservation-actions template file. Priority species lists will strongly influence prioritization of conservation actions at national levels, but action should not be exclusive to listed species. In addition, all species on this list will not necessarily require immediate action. Our method is transparent, reproducible, and readily applicable to other taxa and regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1324-1332
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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