OCR AS Biology

Revision Notes

4.2.10 Conservation Agreements

Conservation Agreements

  • 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

IUCN Classification, downloadable AS & A Level Biology revision notes

The IUCN classification system of species – Scientists are continually updating and reviewing the conservation status of species


  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil in 1992
  • The convention had three main goals:
    • The conservation of biological diversity by use of a variety of different conservation methods
    • The sustainable use of biological resources
    • The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources
  • The countries that signed the convention agreed to design and implement national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as to organise international cooperation and further international meetings


  • 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


  • The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) was a scheme dating back to the 1980s that provided funding (i.e. a financial incentive) to farmers and private landowners in England who used environmental management strategies to protect and increase the natural biodiversity on their land
  • This scheme was replaced by the Environmental Stewardship Scheme (ESS) in 2005
  • In order to qualify for the scheme, farmers and private landowners have to:
    • Provide and protect valuable wildlife habitats such as ponds, hedgerows and buffer zones surrounding farmed areas
    • Ensure their land is managed well, maintaining its traditional character
    • Protect any natural resources or historic features present on their land
    • Conserve any traditional crops or livestock present on their land
    • Provide visitor opportunities so people can learn about the countryside and how important it is in sustaining biodiversity

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