Comparison of Two Objective Protocols used to Determine the Status of North Carolina Aquatic Species

A primary responsibility of wildlife resources agencies is to determine a species' conservation status. Two widely utilized protocols for status determination are those of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and NatureServe. This study compares the risk categorization for 58 species of aquatic wildlife extant in North Carolina. The IUCN and NatureServe protocols produced threat rankings that were correlated with each other but very different in terms of how they classified risk. The NatureServe protocol most often placed a species as being in a higher threat category than did the IUCN protocol. Differences mainly appeared to be due to how the protocols treat species with restricted geographic range. Resource managers should be aware of the relative performances and reasons for discrepancies of these two protocols when determining conservation status for a species.

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