Is the International Union for Conservation of Nature Independent?

Tropical forest - Photo by AditChandra

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a well known organisation.  It is the self declared "largest professional global conservation network". Their purpose is to assist in the conservation of nature. They have a branch organisation called the Red List™. They are asleep or losing the battle. I think it is all too cosy and comfortable. It is almost an arm of big business designed to placate people who really are concerned. That is provocative. I agree.

The Red List™is an interesting organization. The full title is the IUCN Red List™ of Threatened Species™. They evaluate the conservation status of animal and plant species. In short they decide how near extinction the species of the world are.

This post asks whether they are truly independent of big business. Big business likes to use natural resources to make money. A good example is the virgin forests (what is left of them) of the world. Big business in Asia and South America like to cut down the forest to use the wood for paper or furniture - whatever, saleable products. In Africa equatorial forests are logged to make way for palm oil plantations.

If the IUCN Red List™ lists a species of animal that lives in forest, and only in forest, as endangered due to logging (destruction of its habitat) pressure might be applied by environmentalists to stop the logging. This might have a detrimental effect on business. Business might therefore lobby the IUCN Red List™ to re-assess their listings. Big business might do this at a low level in direct communication with individual scientists on the ground who do the assessments or research. If this is happening it would taint the research and alter the classification awarded by the Red List™.

The scientists might evaluate a species as "Least Concern" rather then "Near Threatened". That would take the pressure of the loggers and poachers.

In the USA the cougar is evaluated as Least Concern. People like to hunt the cougar for pleasure. Is pressure being applied to scientists to say that the cougar is "Least Concern", the weakest evaluation under the Red List™ scheme? In 2002 the assessment was worse "Near Threatened". Is the IUCN Red List being lobbied and influenced?

Associated Page: IUCN Red List for Cats.
Is the International Union for Conservation of Nature Independent? Is the International Union for Conservation of Nature Independent? Reviewed by Michael Broad on October 31, 2011 Rating: 5

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