The German Red List Centre is a service provider for all authors working on the national Red Lists in Germany. It assists them by providing organizational and financial support during the development of draft Red Lists. The comprehensive technical guidance offered by the Centre ensures that the quality of the Red Lists is maintained to a high standard.
The Red List Centre is responsible for planning, coordinating and editing the German national Red Lists on behalf of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz – BfN), which is the publisher of the German national Red Lists of animals, plants and fungi. The Red List Centre cooperates with a wide network of about 550 Red List authors and facilitates expert networking. In addition, it supports capacity building and promotion of young taxonomy experts.
In cooperation with BfN, the German Red List Centre is responsible for promoting the Red Lists to a wide range of organisations involved in politics, conservation and landscape planning as well as to interested members of the general public.
The German Red List Centre is an independent organizational unit within an overarching institution and operates on behalf of BfN. The scientific experts at the Red List Centre support the work being undertaken by the Red List authors and take care of editing the Red Lists. In this context, the Red List Centre employs experienced PR, IT and administration personnel.
Two committees accompany the work of the Red List Centre: the Red List Advisory Council (‘Rote-Liste-Beirat‘), which is mainly a representative council of Red List authors, and the steering group (‘Steuerungsgruppe‘), whose members comprise BfN, Red List Centre and Red List Advisory Council representatives.
The Red List Centre is hosted by DLR Projektträger (DLR = ‘Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – ‘German Aerospace Center) in Bonn. Most of the Red List Centre’s employees have been working on the development of Red Lists for many years and are well known to the Red List experts. DLR Projektträger has a long-standing experience of implementing species protection and conservation programmes. For example, it is responsible for implementing the German Federal Biodiversity Programme ('Bundesprogramm Biologische Vielfalt‘) on behalf of BfN.
During a Red List conference in 2014, participants requested improved financial, organizational and technical support for their work. This request was summarized in a ‘memorandum‘ and implied that if no action were taken, the largely voluntarily engaged experts may not be able or willing to devote their time and expertise to the Red List development process. This would have meant that high quality Red Lists could no longer be produced. The memorandum targeted both political decision-makers and the general scientific public.
BfN followed up on this memorandum from experts and Red List authors and initiated a research and development (R+D) project with the aim of analysing the feasibility and preparation of the establishment of a Red List Centre. Once the results of this R+D project became available, BfN tendered for its establishment (Europe-wide tender). DLR Projektträger won the tender, and the German Red List Centre commenced operations on 1 December 2018.
The Red List Centre offers training sessions on the Red List methodology used in Germany and trains Red List authors in applying the IT tools for threat assessments. First-time Red List authors are obliged to participate in one of the methodology training sessions.
Upon request, the Red List Centre can provide organizational assistance, such as organizing and facilitating expert group meetings, booking meeting venues and offering further administrative support.
In general terms, financial support is provided for activities that fall within the scope of Red List development, which cannot be carried out through voluntary work. Funding is made available if experts of the respective taxonomic group consider the relevant activities as a priority for the development of the Red Lists at the national level. Such activities would include, for example, targeted searches of species that are considered lost or threatened with extinction in Germany, digitalization of existing analogue distribution data, assessment and evaluation of data obtained from important collections, statistical analyses and the development of digital portals to manage distribution data. Such portals are key to making data more readily accessible to Red List authors. Financial support is also available for capacity building programmes, promoting the training of young or ‘new‘ taxonomic experts as well as for working group meetings related to Red List development activities.
Specific support is available for those experts who agree to coordinate the development or updating of national Red Lists, including, for example, the development or revision of taxonomic checklists, threat assessments and the development of Red List text manuscripts and publication lists.