IUCN Species Survival Commission: A Global Network for Species Survival
Habitats and their living natural resources are under increasing pressures everywhere from humankind. Species, the basic biotic units, are consequently increasingly threatened with extinction. To protect and conserve biodiversity from species level to ecosystems requires management based on understanding of not just biological sciences, but also knowledge of local cultures, environmental economics and governmental structures and dynamics.
Among international responses to deal with this complexity is the Species Survival Commission (SSC), the largest commission of IUCN - The World Conservation Union. Founded in 1949, the SSC network has 4,800 volunteer member scientists, field researchers, governmental officers and conservation leaders in 169 countries. They provide technical and scientific counsel for biodiversity conservation projects throughout the world, serving as resources to governments, international conventions and conservation organizations.
SSC works principally through its nearly 100 Specialist Groups, most of which represent particular plant or animal groups. SSC Specialist Groups focus on species either threatened with extinction or of special importance to human welfare. A few groups are disciplinary - veterinary medicine, captive breeding, reintroductions, international trade and wildlife utilization.
Each taxonomic group is charged to assess the conservation status of the chosen species and their habitats, to develop an Action Plan that specifies conservation priorities and finally to promote the implementation of required activities outlined in the Plan. Developing an Action Plan may take several months or years; full implementation of an action agenda may span several decades. Action Plans have been completed by 17 Specialist Groups.
Besides developing general conservation policy, such as the World Conservation Strategy, IUCN manages conservation projects worldwide, including projects on tropical forests, wetlands, marine ecosystems, the Sahel, Antarctica and sustainable development.
For more information on the Species Survival Commission and IUCN-The World Conservation Union, contact IUCN, Avenue du Mont-Blanc, CH- 1196 Gland, Switzerland. Telephone (22) 364 9114; Telefax (22) 364 2926.
This publication was produced by IUCN-World Conservation Union with the collaboration of Conservation International (CI) and WWF - The World Wide Fund for Nature. The production of this Action Plan was supported by a gift from the Sultanate of Oman, which established the IUCN/SSC Peter Scott Action Plan Fund.
© 1992 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
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Published by IUCN, Gland, Switzerland
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