Red List Workshop on the Mediterranean butterflies

18 February 2013 | Event

Over 30 experts coming from 19 countries worked together to determine the conservation status of Mediterranean butterflies according to the IUCN Red List criteria.

From the 25th to the 28th of February, the Botanic Garden of Malaga welcomed a workshop of experts to establish the first Red List of Mediterranean butterflies, according to the criteria and categories of the IUCN Red List, based on the analysis of available information. The workshop was organized by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. It was inaugurated by the deputy mayor and delegate of the Environment and Sustainability Department of Malaga, Ana Navarro, and the director of IUCN-Med, Antonio Troya.

Over 30 experts from the university and scientific field, coming from 19 countries, worked together for three days in the frame of this workshop, analyzing the information currently available on nearly 400 species of Mediterranean butterflies. Almost 9% of the butterflies in Europe are threatened, and the latest data shows that one third of European butterflies are in decline.

Butterflies are famous not only for their beauty but also because they are important indicators of the state of biodiversity and environmental health. Moreover, they play a significant role in ecosystems, mainly because they pollinate numerous plants. According to a study by the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications and the Museum of Natural Sciences of Granollers, an easily observable migratory species such as the thistle butterfly, Vanessa Cardui, can travel up to 6500 km from North Africa.

The greatest threat to butterflies is the destruction of their habitats or of the links between their habitats due to changes in agricultural practices, whether it be intensification or abandonment. Other significant threats are climate change, the frequency and intensity of fires and the development of tourism. An appropriate habitat management could improve the conservation status of these valuable species.

The categories and criteria of the IUCN Red List have been created to classify species facing a high risk of extinction at regional and/or international level. They are currently worldwide reference tools for species conservation. IUCN Red Lists provide information and analysis on species situation, evolution and threats in order to inform and trigger actions to preserve biodiversity.

Since 2006, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation has contributed to the assessment of the conservation status of 3000 Mediterranean species. This workshop is part of an ambitious initiative launched in 2011 to evaluate some 2800 species of plants and invertebrates.

For further information: Catherine Numa