Founded in 1948, its headquarters is located in Gland, Switzerland. The IUCN brings together 78 states, 112 government agencies, 735 NGOs and thousands of experts and scientists from 181 countries.
IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
These are the existing Protected Area Management Categories:
Ia - Strict Nature Reserve
An area of land and/or sea possessing some outstanding or representative ecosystems, geological or physiological features and/or species, available primarily for scientific research and/or environmental monitoring.
Ib - Wilderness Area
A large area of unmodified or slightly modified land, and/or sea, retaining its natural character and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition.
II - National Park
A natural area of land and/or sea, designated to:
protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations;
exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area;
provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.
III - Natural Monument
An area containing one, or more, specific natural or natural/cultural feature which is of outstanding or unique value because of its inherent rarity, representative or aesthetic qualities or cultural significance.
IV - Habitat/Species Management Area
An area of land and/or sea subject to active intervention for management purposes so as to ensure the maintenance of habitats and/or to meet the requirements of specific species.
V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
An area of land, with coast and sea as appropriate, where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant aesthetic, ecological and/or cultural value, and often with high biological diversity. Safeguarding the integrity of this traditional interaction is vital to the protection, maintenance and evolution of such an area.
VI - Managed Resource Protected Area
An area containing predominantly unmodified natural systems, managed to ensure long term protection and maintenance of biological diversity, while providing at the same time a sustainable flow of natural products and services to meet community needs.
The IUCNRed List of Threatened Species (also known as the "IUCNRed List" and "Red Data List"), created in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
The IUCNRed List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies.
Established upon a strong scientific base, the IUCNRed List is often recognised as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
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