CIE A Level Biology (9700) exams from 2022

Revision Notes

18.3.6 Role of IUCN in Conservation

Role of IUCN & CITES in Conservation

  • International cooperation is essential if conservation is to be successful
  • There are several agreements and authorities that exist within and between countries with the aim of protecting and conserving species worldwide


  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is described as “the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it”
  • One of the duties that the IUCN carries out is assessing the conservation status of animal and plant species around the world
    • The IUCN has their own classification system
    • There are several different categories and levels that a species can fall into depending on their population numbers and the threats and risks to those populations
    • Scientists use data and modelling to estimate which category each species should be in
  • Animals that are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ can be seen online as this list is made public


  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is a global agreement that has been signed by over 150 countries
  • Its aim is to control the trade of endangered species and their associated products
    • For example, elephants and their ivory tusks
  • CITES categorizes endangered and vulnerable species into three appendices:
    • Appendix I : species that are endangered and face the greatest risk of extinction (for example, the red panda)
    • Appendix II: species that are not currently endangered or facing extinction, but will be unless trade is closely controlled (for example, the venus fly trap)
    • Appendix III: species included at request of the country that is regulating trade of the species and trying to prevent its overexploitation (for example, the two-toed sloth in Costa Rica)
  • There are different trading regulations that apply to each appendix:
    • For species in appendix I: all trade in the species and their associated products is banned
    • For species in appendix II: trade is only granted if an export permit has been issued by the involved countries
    • For species in appendix III: permits are required for regulated trade. Permits are easier to come by for species in this appendix
  • Scientists are continuously adding new species and reviewing the status of species already in the database
  • There are several concerns about the efficacy of CITES listings
    • When the trade of a certain endangered species becomes illegal, its price increases
    • The increased economic value of the species can be a major incentive for people to break the law

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Lára graduated from Oxford University in Biological Sciences and has now been a science tutor working in the UK for several years. Lára has a particular interest in the area of infectious disease and epidemiology, and enjoys creating original educational materials that develop confidence and facilitate learning.

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