Biodiversity

First Red List of threatened species published in North Macedonia 

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December 19, 2019

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Published:

December 19, 2019

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Almost half of amphibians and reptiles are threatened with extinction and 4 vascular plant species are critically endangered in North Macedonia, according to the first national Red List, published in Skopje and developed by national experts under the guidance of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Thirteen reptile species out of 32 occurring in the country are threatened. The cat snake or the European glass lizard are mostly affected by the transportation corridors, energy production and mining, agriculture, and aquaculture as well as fires. Hermann’s tortoise and the common tortoise are threatened by harvest from wild populations for trade.

Thirteen reptile species out of 32 occurring in the country are threatened, while of all 14 amphibian species six are facing extinction

Of all 14 amphibian species occurring in North Macedonia, six are facing extinction (43%). Globally, a similar proportion of all amphibian species are threatened (41%). To survive and reproduce, amphibians need ample fresh water, a resource strongly impacted by climate change, construction of dams and current management practices.

red list
Hermann’s tortoise assessed as vulnerable in North Macedonia (Photo: Dragan Arsovski)

Fourteen vascular plant species that are of global conservation concern were selected to kick off the Red List for this group. Thirteen of these are threatened, of which four are critically endangered: March angelica, waterwheel, wolf’s foot clubmoss, and Astragalus pysocalix. It mirrors global conservation concerns for the species.

The assessments will be published on the Red List of North Macedonia website

The assessments will be published on a Red List of North Macedonia website, hosted on the servers of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. The website will include a brief description of the process and all assessments done until now, including the assessed species’ profiles and their distribution maps.

Fabaceae Astragalus physocalyx is critically endangered in North Macedonia

At the national level, the document is an essential tool for conservation policy and action planning. Relevant national institutions may use it to inform national conservation policy such as the List of Protected and Strictly Protected Species and CITES proposals. It can guide research questions of the national scientific community, or help set conservation priorities of civil society organizations and guide their biodiversity monitoring efforts.

Having assessed the initial 60 species is just a start as significant efforts are still to be made in the coming years

The endeavor was initiated last year under the umbrella of a Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project implemented by UN Environment (UNEP), through a series of workshops organized with accredited IUCN Red List trainers. Having assessed the initial 60 species is just a start. Significant efforts are still to be made in the coming years to reach the indicative overview of the species’ status in the country, leading to a full-scale Red List Index for North Macedonia.

The efforts were guided by IUCN in the past three years, as part of the project Achieving Biodiversity Conservation through Creation and Effective Management of Protected Areas and Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Land Use Planning. It was funded by the GEF and implemented by UNEP.

List to serve as a starting point for biodiversity conservation – Makraduli

“We are proudly presenting the results of dedicated work of our experts, that have managed to finalize full Red List assessment of 32 reptile species, 14 amphibian species, and an initial 14 vascular plant species, following IUCN criteria and categories,” said Jani Makraduli, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning of North Macedonia. “Even though the results are quite alarming, we can use this data as an indicator and credible starting point while planning future activities related to biodiversity conservation in the country.”

Boris Erg, Director of IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said IUCN is very pleased to see the highest global standard in nature conservation being applied in North Macedonia.

“The IUCN Red List is key to developing informed national biodiversity strategies and action plans and devise sound conservation measures,” said Erg.

IUCN stands ready to support further assessments, through capacity building and transfer of know-how and experience.

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