Threat Categories

Red List categories reflect the levels of threat to animal, plant and fungi species in a condensed form

Ten Threat Categories

Since 2009, the German Red Lists distinguish ten categories based on the level of threat:

0          Extinct or Lost (‘Ausgestorben oder verschollen‘)

A species that has disappeared from a defined geographical area or in which no wild population have been reported anymore. Either there is reasonable proof that populations have become extinct, usually as a result of human activity (historic habitats or locations have been transformed to such a degree that makes re-discovery unlikely), or that they are definitely lost. This means that there is no reasonable doubt that the last individuals have disappeared because targeted searches for the species in known historic habitats have been unsuccessful over a longer period of time. 

1          Threatened with Extinction (‘Vom Aussterben bedroht‘)

A species that is endangered to such a degree that it is likely to become extinct in the near future unless appropriate urgent action is taken. Survival of the species within the geographical coverage can only be achieved if the causes of threat are eliminated immediately or if effective protective measures are put in place to support remaining populations.

2         Highly Threatened (‘Stark gefährdet‘)

A species showing a significant population decline or subject to substantial threat caused by continuous or anticipated human impact. If the current threat to the species is not adequately mitigated, it is likely to be re-classified as ‘Threatened with Extinction‘ in the future.

3          Threatened (‘Gefährdet‘)

A species showing a significant population decline or one that is probably threatened by human impact. If the current threat to the species is not adequately addressed, it is likely to be re-classified as ‘Highly Threatened‘ in the future.

G        Threat of Unknown Extent (‘Gefährdung unbekannten Ausmaßes‘)

Species in this group are threatened. Research has shown that the species is threatened, but the available information is not sufficient to allow a precise assignment to categories 1 to 3.

R          Extremely Rare (‘Extrem selten’)

Extremely rare species, often with very local populations; total number of populations or individuals within populations do not show a long-term or short-term decline. The species is not immediately threatened, but it is particularly vulnerable to potentially threatening events.

V       Near Threatened (‘Vorwarnliste‘)

Species displaying a substantial population decline but not yet considered as threatened. If the current causes of threat persist, a re-classification into category ’Threatened‘ is likely in the near future.

D         Data Deficient (‘Daten unzureichend’)

Information on the distribution, biology or level of threat to a species is insufficient. Causes of data deficiency are, for example, that a species was not detected or not differentiated from another species in the past; that a species has only recently been assessed taxonomically or has not yet been clearly determined taxonomically; or that the number of specialists is too low to allow for a potential threat assessment.

*          Not Threatened (‘Ungefährdet’)

Species are considered as currently 'Not Threatened' if their populations have increased, are stable or have decreased only slightly. They cannot, therefore, be assigned to Category ‘V‘ as yet.

          Not Evaluated (‘Nicht bewertet’)

No threat assessment has been carried out for species in this category.

Fruchtstand der Gewöhnlichen Küchenschelle (Pulsatilla vulgaris). Die Art gilt als gefährdet. Foto: Heinz Buls.

Foto: Heinz Buls

Picture at the top of the page:

Seed head of Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), Schwäbische Alb region. This species is considered as 'Threatened’' (‘Gefährdet‘) . Photo: Heinz Buls