Red List survey shows danger signs

Participants at the workshop on Wednesday, November 4. Photo: Enviro News

Nuku’alofa – November 6, 2020: 10am (Enviro News): The Red Listing survey carried out here on Tongatapu shows danger signs in the identified mangrove sites.

Established in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species.

A workshop on Wednesday, November 4, here at the Environment Department conference room heard that mangroves in the Kingdom continue to face danger from humans and natural hazards such as fires, cyclones and storms.

Officer in Charge Mafileo Ongosia Masi speaking at the opening of the workshop.
Photo: Enviro News

Presenting on the Red List procedures and the work done so far, Mrs Ta’hirih Fifita Hokafonu, Head of the Islands and Ecosystems Division, said the survey results needs to be taken seriously.

The surveys were done around the Nukunukumotu, Sopu and Nukuhetulu sites.

“This showed that majority of our mangroves plantations are now either in grave danger or around that concern,” she said.

“It is time to act, otherwise we will be losing this important part of our ecosystems.”

Mangroves close to the roadside face the gravest danger because people are easily accessing them.

People use mangroves for firewood and also for tapa printing.

In most areas around the sites surveyed there are evidence of trees dying out.

In opening the workshop Officer in Charge of the Department of Environment Mafileo Ongosia Masi said there needs to be wise decisions made if mangroves are to be protected.

“We need to use our mangroves wisely,” she said.

She pointed to the importance of ensuring that re-planting continues.

“If you cut the mangroves you need to replace them, you need to replant trees,” she added.

IOE Division Head Mrs Ta’hirih Hokafonu explains a point during the presentation. Photo: Enviro News

The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. 

Far more than a list of species and their status, it is a powerful tool to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive. It provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats, and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions.

The IUCN Red List is used by government agencies, wildlife departments, conservation-related non-governmental organisations (NGOs), natural resource planners, educational organisations, students, and the business community.

The Red List process has become a massive enterprise involving the IUCN Global Species Program staff, partner organisations and experts in the IUCN Species Survival Commission and partner networks who compile the species information to make The IUCN Red List the indispensable product it is today.

To date, many species groups including mammals, amphibians, birds, reef building corals and conifers have been comprehensively assessed. As well as assessing newly recognized species, the IUCN Red List also re-assesses the status of some existing species, sometimes with positive stories to tell. For example, good news such as the downlisting (i.e. improvement) of a number of species on the IUCN Red List categories scale, due to conservation efforts.

The bad news, however, is that biodiversity is declining. Currently, there are more than 120,000 species on The IUCN Red List, with more than 32,000 species threatened with extinction, including 41% of amphibians, 34% of conifers, 33% of reef building corals, 26% of mammals and 14% of birds.

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