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dimanche 24 juillet 2016
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Indicator Facts


Focal Area: Sustainable use

Headline Indictor: Proportion of products derived from sustainable sources

Key Indicator Partner:

Data Available: Global time series, 1988 - 2008

Development Status: Ready for global use




International wildlife trade involves hundreds of millions of individual plants and animals from tens of thousands of species with a market value of millions of dollars. Many of these species are traded at an international scale, and as the population of the world expands so does the international demand for wild products. International trade agreements such as the Convention on Internationally Traded and Endangered Species (CITES) aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The aim of this index is to track changes in the wild status of internationally traded species, and species listed on CITES Appendix I and II.


Data Information



This indicator uses the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species to track changes in the conservation staus of internationally traded bird species and bird species listed on CITES Appendix I and II. Birds are an ideal group to include in such an analysis as global Red List assessments have been carried out on this class 5 times between 1988 and 2008 and they are one of the most information rich taxa. For internationally traded species, the Red List was also used to determine the relative importance of drivers such as utilisation, pollution, agriculture and invasive species in the changes in Red List status. This allows the Index to not only reflect changes in the status of internationally traded species, but also the role that drivers such as utilization might play in that change.



The data from the IUCN Red List is collected at a species level and an analysis could potentially be carried out at a national scale, although this would be dependent on the availability of data.


The Indicator

Red List Index for internationally traded species

(n=3,332 internationally traded non-Data Deficient species extant in 1988).


Red List Index for birds listed on CITES Appendix I and II

(n=9,794 non-Data Deficient species extant in 1988, 1,447 non-Data Deficient extant CITES-listed species, and 2,601 non-Data Deficient extant internationally traded non-CITES-listed species)

Source: BirdLife International


How to interpret the indicator

The Red List Index measures trends in the overall extinction risk of species-groups, as an indicator of trends in the status of biodiversity. An RLI value of 1.0 equates to all species being categorized as Least Concern, and hence that none are expected to go extinct in the near future. An RLI value of zero indicates that all species have gone Extinct. A downwards trend in the graph line (i.e. decreasing RLI values) means that the expected rate of species extinctions is increasing, i.e. that the rate of biodiversity loss is increasing. Disaggregation of an RLI for utilised and non-utilised species enables the impact of utilisation on biodiversity to be determined. For example a steeper downward trend for utilised species would indicate that wildlife trade has a significant negative impact on biodiversity.

Current Storyline


Over 40% of the world’s bird species are utilized in one way or another and 80% (3,337) of these are internationally traded, primarily as pets. Internationally traded species have declined in status since 1988, although they are, on average, less threatened than utilised species that are not internationally traded. One possible reason for this difference relates to what the species are used for, as internationally traded species tend to be common and attractive species that are used as cage-birds, whereas locally used or nationally-traded species tend to be larger-bodied species that are hunted for food and are more sensitive to exploitation.

CITES-listed birds are more threatened overall than all species on average (i.e. their RLI values are lower), indicating that CITES is, in general, listing species that are more threatened. Among internationally traded species, those listed on CITES Appendix I or II are declining faster than those that are not-CITES listed. However, CITES operates only at an international level, and significant trade may also take place at a local and national level. Therefore, although this index reflects changes in the conservation status of CITES listed species, it not possible to determine a direct causal link between CITES listing and the trends seen in this RLI.


National use

This Red List Index based indicator focuses on the global status of species utilized for trade. National RLIs for utilized species can be calculated either by disaggregating the global indices, or by repeatedly assessing extinction risk at the national scale. Many countries have compiled national red lists (generally for all vertebrate species) which form the basis of the latter approach (see. , but so far few have done this twice or more using consistent methods. As they increasingly do so, however, many more national RLIs will become available which can be disaggregated for utilized and non-utilized species.

Information on producing national RLIs can be found in the 2010 BIP publication, IUCN Red List Index – Guidance for National and Regional Use, available from the 2010 BIP website ( For more information on producing regional and national RLIs contact Stuart Butchart at BirdLife International (

Future development

As the Red List expands in scope, it will be possible to expand this analysis to other globally assessed groups such as mammals and amphibians, and use the Red List Index to track changes in the conservation status and determine the extent to which international trade has been a driver of change in Red List status.

Indicator publications
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES 2009)Twenty-fourth meeting of the Animals Committee Geneva, (Switzerland), 20-24 April 2009
Red List Indices to measure the sustainability of species use and impacts of invasive alien species (2008)Journal Article: Butchart, S. H. M. Bird Conservation International 18:S245–S262

 Photo credits:
Food market ©Trey Ratcliff; Bird market ©Paul McDee; Fish market ©Martin Boose

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