As biodiversity loss accelerates around the world, scientists (including those at Microsoft) are racing to measure how fast species are going extinct, and to predict and prioritize which species are most in need of conservation interventions.
These efforts require expert knowledge of a species’ biology, as well as currently lacking spatial information on the processes threatening a species’ persistence and conservation actions taken to protect the species.
We have teamed up with The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to tackle this data problem. The oldest and largest global environmental network, the IUCN provides the Red List of Threatened Species™. The Red List™ is recognized as the most authoritative source of information on the conservation status of the world's animals and plants, and is the result of an exhaustive process engaging species experts around the world to contribute their knowledge and time to assessing the status of individual species.
Through our IUCN partnership and support from Microsoft Research Connections, we are creating a web-based mapping application to transform the use of the Red List™ and the setting of conservation priorities and policies. The Threat Mapping Application will not only provide a spatial database linking species ranges, conservation status, and protected areas. It will also provide an exceptionally easy to use interface allowing species experts to map out the threats to the species they are assessing, and to discover threat information compiled by other species experts from around the world.
Launching at the 2012 World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, the IUCN Red List™ Threat Mapping Application will hopefully grow to become a significant conservation resource. Watch this space for release date information!