Conserving species

Offering adequate species preservation
Providing sufficient species preservation
Preserving individual species

Conservation plans may include ecological surveys of distribution, population size, habitat and so on; protected areas and areas of biological importance; reasons for decline; threats and practical conservation measures, including legal protection; improved management in the wild, including habitat protection and sustainable utilization by humans; biological research, for example on taxonomy and reproduction; public education; cooperation of organizations responsible for conservation of the species; captive breeding; introduction or re-introduction; and an indication of the resources required for implementation of the conservation plan.


In the case of species, conservation status means the sum of the influences acting on the species concerned that may affect the long-term distribution and abundance of its populations within its territory. The conservation status will be taken as 'favourable' when: (a) population dynamics data on the species concerned indicate that it is maintaining itself on a long-term basis as a viable component of its natural habitats, and (b) the natural range of the species is neither being reduced nor is likely to be reduced for the foreseeable future, and (c) there is, and will probably continue to be, a sufficiently large habitat to maintain its populations on a long-term basis.

It is estimated that 200 species go extinct every 24 hours somewhere in the world because of anthropogenic activities. Apart from ethical grounds, species contribution to global biodiversity and ecosystem stability is lost. This is continuing at an increasing rate as the world's population soars whilst seeking modern development. Since species are principally lost by loss of habitat, the prime objective in conserving species is to conserve their habitats (in situ). Captive breeding and propagation of endangered species and subsequent reintroduction into the wild is another strategy used (ex situ). Both may be combined for maximum success. Non-threatened stocks should not be allowed to decline to an endangered status. Taking development into account, individuals, governments and the world community should do all they can to prevent the extinction of species.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends the drawing up of breed preservation plans for endangered populations, including semen/embryo collection and storage, farm-based conservation of indigenous stock or in situ preservation.


The aim of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 1979 (Bern Convention) is to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats, especially those species and habitats whose conservation requires the cooperation of several states. Particular emphasis is given to endangered and vulnerable species, including endangered and vulnerable migratory species. In order to achieve these objectives, the Convention provides for the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats in general and for the special protection of species listed in Appendix I (strictly protected plants), Appendix II (strictly protected animals) and Appendix III (protected animals) of the Convention. In Recommendation 16 on Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCIs) the Standing Committee recommended Parties "to take steps to designate Areas of Special Conservation Interest to ensure that the necessary and appropriate conservation measures are taken for each area situated within their territory or under their responsibility where that areas fits one or several of the following conditions". A further Recommendation regarding the conservation of natural areas outside protected areas proper was adopted in 1991 by the Standing Committee.

In order to assure coherence between ASCIs to be designated under the Bern Convention and the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated under the Habitats Directive, the Standing Committee adopted in January 1996 Resolution 3 concerning the setting up of a Pan-European Ecological Network, coined Emerald Network. It resolved to: (1) set up the Emerald Network, which would include the ASCIs designated under the Convention; (2) set up a group of experts to carry out the necessary activities related to the building up of the network; (3) invite European states which have observer status in the Standing Committee to participate in the network; (4) encourage the Parties and observer states to designate ASCIs and notify them to the Secretariat.

The member states of the EU satisfy the habitat requirements of the Bern Convention through the implementation of the Habitats Directive. The SPAs and SACs classified under the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive will automatically become part of the Emerald Network.

A Standing Committee has been set up with responsibility for the application of the Convention. Any Party may be represented on the Standing Committee by one or more delegates, as well as observer states and NGOs. Designation of ASCIs started in 1999. The states are required to notify the secretariat of the ASCIs for validation by the secretariat and incorporation into the Emerald Network.


The paradoxical aspect of extinction of the most charismatic animals is that many people aren't even aware, from the way we portray them in society, that such well-known and iconic species are under threat with extinction in the wild.  Despite their abundant media representation, nine of the ten animals on the list of "most charismatic" (Tiger, Lion, Elephant, Giraffe, Leopard, Panda, Cheetah, Polar bear, Wolf, Gorilla) are classed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 15: Life on Land