Least Concern

Least Concern

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Least Concern'
Start a new discussion about 'Least Concern'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Least Concern is an IUCN
World Conservation Union
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is an international organization dedicated to finding "pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges." The organization publishes the IUCN Red List, compiling information from a network of...

 category assigned to extant taxon or lower taxa which have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category. As such they do not qualify as threatened
Threatened species
Threatened species are any speciesg animals, plants, fungi, etc.) which are vulnerable to endangerment in the near future.The World Conservation Union is the foremost authority on threatened species, and treats threatened species not as a single category, but as a group of three categories,...

, Near Threatened
Near Threatened
Near Threatened is a conservation status assigned to species or lower taxa that may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future, although it does not currently qualify for the threatened status...

, or (prior to 2001) Conservation Dependent
Conservation Dependent
Conservation Dependent was an IUCN category assigned to species or lower taxa which were dependent on conservation efforts to prevent the taxon becoming threatened with extinction...

. Many common species such as the Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon
The Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon, is a member of the bird family Columbidae . In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon"....

, Honeybee, Asian Tiger Mosquito
Asian tiger mosquito
The Asian tiger mosquito or forest day mosquito, Aedes albopictus , from the mosquito family, is characterized by its black and white striped legs, and small black and white striped body...

, Common Juniper, Snail Kite
Snail Kite
The Snail Kite is a bird of prey within the family Accipitridae, which also includes the eagles, hawks, and Old World vultures. Its relative, the Slender-billed Kite, is now again placed in Helicolestes, making the genus Rostrhamus monotypic...

, Sacred Kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher
The Sacred Kingfisher is primarily a woodland kingfisher that occurs in mangroves, woodlands, forests, and river valleys of Australia, Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., New Guinea, N...

 and House Mouse
House mouse
The house mouse is a small rodent, a mouse, one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus.As a wild animal the house mouse mainly lives associated with humans, causing damage to crops and stored food....

, as well as human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s, are assigned the Least Concern category.

Species cannot be assigned the Least Concern category unless they have had their population status evaluated. That is, adequate information is needed to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution and/or population status.

Since 2001 the category has had the abbreviation "LC", following the IUCN 2001 Categories & Criteria (version 3.1). However, around 20% of Least Concern taxa (3261 of 15636) in the IUCN database use the code "LR/lc", which indicates they have not been re-evaluated since 2000. Prior to 2001 "least concern" was a subcategory of the "Lower Risk" category and assigned the code "LR/lc" or (lc).

While "Least Concern" is not considered a red listed category by the IUCN, the 2006 Red List
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

 still assigns the category to 15636 taxa. The number of animal species listed in this category totals 14033 (which includes several undescribed species such as a frog from the genus Philautus
Philautus
Philautus is a genus of shrub frogs in the family Rhacophoridae. Some species in this genus are now considered extinct by IUCN, while others are widespread and abundant...

). There are also 101 animal subspecies listed and 1500 plant taxa (1410 species, 55 subspecies, and 35 varieties). There are also two animal subpopulations listed: the Australasian and Southern African subpopulations of Spiny Dogfish
Spiny dogfish
The spiny dogfish, spurdog, mud shark, or piked dogfish, Squalus acanthias, is one of the best known of the dogfish which are members of the family Squalidae in the order Squaliformes. While these common names may apply to several species, Squalus acanthias is distinguished by having two spines ...

. No fungi or protista have the classification, though only four species in those kingdoms have been evaluated by the IUCN. Human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s qualify for this category, and in 2008 were formally assessed as such by the IUCN.

Similar classifications

  • The COSEWIC
    Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
    The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada ; French: Le Comité sur la situation des espèces en péril au Canada, is an independent committee of wildlife experts and scientists whose "raison d’être is to identify species at risk" in Canada...

     designates Wildlife Species
    Evolutionary Significant Unit
    An Evolutionarily Significant Unit is a population of organisms that is considered distinct for purposes of conservation. Delineating ESUs is important when considering conservation action.This term can apply to any species, subspecies, geographic race, or population...

     as Not At Risk (NAR) when they have been evaluated to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.

  • The NatureServe conservation status uses the ranking of Secure (G5) for "demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure" species which have a stable population

  • The WWF
    World Wide Fund for Nature
    The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

     uses "relatively stable/relatively intact" (RS) as the least concern status for ecoregion
    Ecoregion
    An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

    s.


Many category or ranking systems simply do not list Least Concern species. For example Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's EPBC Act
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is an Act of the Parliament of Australia that provides a framework for protection of the Australian environment, including its biodiversity and its natural and culturally significant places...

 does not have a category for "not at risk" species, although such species may be found amongst the lists of "unsuccessful nominations" or "removed" (delisted) fauna and flora. There are, however, other reasons species may be found on these lists, such as taxonomic changes. The US Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 likewise does not list species which are not at risk.

External links