Red List of Mediterranean Ecosystems

The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria (RLE) key tool and global standard for assessing the conservation status of ecosystems applicable at local, national, regional and global levels. The RLE was officially recognized by IUCN in 2014 as a critical tool to help monitor the status of ecosystems and use and determine which ecosystems are more likely to disappear.

How does it work? 

The Red List of Ecosystems is jointly coordinated by two IUCN bodies, the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) and the Global Ecosystem Management Programme (GEMP). It is governed by two interacting committees with specific functions: (i) the Steering Committee, and (ii) a Committee for Scientific Standards. Together, the committees have developed transparent criteria and a scientific framework that has been tested in more than 50 ecosystems in six continents and three oceans.

Read about the guidelines

Red List of the Ecosystems in the Mediterranean 

IUCN-Med continues supporting the process of developing a Red List of Ecosystems at the national level in several countries in the Mediterranean basin.

How We Act 

1. Organising workshops and training to introduce the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) methodology to member states.

  • In July 2013, IUCN Med organized two different workshops in the framework of the POTCEFEX-Transhabitat project to evaluate the Moroccan Red List of Ecosystems. Scientific experts from Morocco and Spain gathered to adopt an agenda for the next steps of the project. 

  • IUCN-Med organised a workshop in Lebanon in 2017 to introduce the Red List of Ecosystems methodology to stakeholders. The workshop was followed the next day by the: "National Meeting on the Conservation of Plants and Important Plant Areas in Lebanon”. which attracted participants from multiple sectors to gather and discuss the RLE methodology for conservation in Lebanon, along with a focus on the IPAMed Project.

2. Providing guidance for member states to adapting the methodology to national agendas.

3. Applying the Red List of Ecosystems Methodology in the European Union

  • IUCN-Med participated in the Red List of European habitats which supports the goals for The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030Although the areas are not yet part of the global assessment, they are largely based on a protocol proposed in a feasibility study, combined with elements of the IUCN RLE Approach. The collaboration resulted in the publication “European Red List of Habitats: Part 1. Marine habitats”. 


Species Conservation

The Red List of Ecosystems have the potential to complement the policy successes of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This is because ecosystems may more effectively represent biological diversity as a whole than individual species and can save time than performing species-by-species assessments. The Red List of Ecosystems methodology may suggest areas in which extirpations are likely to result from extinction debt in response to loss and fragmentation of species’ habitats, because a decline in the extent and status of an ecosystem may precede the loss of its species.


Resources & Human Well-being

Reliable assessments can raise awareness about threats to ecosystems and the resulting impacts on human well-being. At the same time, these demonstrate benefits to human well-being, such as how improved ecosystem management can reduce risks, enhance resilience, and promote adaptation, informing stakeholders on how to better manage finite resources. 


Categories & Criteria 

The Red List of Ecosystems evaluates whether ecosystems have reached the final stage of degradation (a state of Collapse), whether they are threatened at Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable levels, or if they are not currently facing a significant risk of collapse (Least Concern).