The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red Lists gather key information about the world’s biodiversity and the risks it faces, in order to guide evidence-based conservation efforts. Since 2019, Provita and a local team of experts have been working with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) on advancing the Venezuelan chapter of the Global Tree Assessment (GTA), which aims to assess the extinction risk of all tree species in the world. Over 1,100 Venezuelan tree species have been assessed by our team so far. Here, we present the preliminary results for the endemic species.
All assessments followed IUCN's standards (version 3.1). Most of the assessments were based on criteria B -species distribution-. Species records were gathered from GBIF.org, Venezuela’s National Herbarium (VEN), and bibliographic sources.
A total of 656 Venezuelan endemic tree species from 70 families have been assessed. Seven of these families comprise over 50% of the list, with Fabaceae (90 spp.) and Rubiaceae (69 spp.) occupying the first places.
Most of the species grow on wet mountain forests, followed by lowland moist forests. The states with most endemic tree species are Amazonas (281 spp.) and Bolívar (218 spp.), followed by Aragua (80 spp.), Miranda (65 spp.), Distrito Capital and Lara (54 spp. each). Over 91% of the endemic species have only been reported in 1-4 states.
Our results indicate that 45% of these species are threatened (CR, EN, and VU), while 25% are Least Concern (LC), and there is not enough information for 27% of them (DD). Fourteen (20%) of the tree families have more than 50% of their assessed endemic species under threat. The most frequently mentioned threats for these trees are small-holder farming, housing, and urban expansion, habitat shifting and alteration, and mining.
The assessment is still in progress and the list will be completed over the next few months. We hope this information will be useful to guide conservation actions on these species, logging prohibitions, new protected areas declaratory, ex situ conservation, and/or reforestation efforts. A preliminary version with 628 species can be downloaded at GBIF.org (https://doi.org/10.15468/vfkuxf). An updated version will be published later in the year. All assessments are available through https://www.iucnredlist.org/.
tree, endemic, red list assessments, Venezuela