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IUCN Recognizes World’s Top Reserves

The new Green List establishes the first global standard for protected natural areas.

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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature named Mount Huangshan Scenic Area in China to its inaugural Green List of Protected Areas.

For 50 years, conservation efforts on behalf of the world’s endangered species have been guided—and goaded—by the Red List of Threatened Species from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This list—with its familiar categories including “least concern,” “vulnerable,” “critically endangered,” and the irreversible “extinct”—has provided a way of keeping tabs on the state of the planet’s biodiversity.

Now the IUCN has launched a new list—not for plants and animals, but for the protected areas that are often crucial to their survival.

The Green List of Protected Areas was announced Friday at the IUCN’s once-per-decade World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia. The list gives recognition to protected areas that are successfully meeting their objectives.