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Working to Conserve the Sonoran Desert

FSD board members Beth Polidoro, Jan Schipper, and Andrew Smith are part of an invited panel on conservation of threatened species, with a special focus on the Sonoran Desert, at the upcoming Arid-Lands Symposium hosted by the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Field Institute. This exciting and educational two day event will be held on May 4th and 5th at Scottsdale Community College. A wide variety of stakeholders will share practice implications and novel ideas for monitoring, research and management of the Sonoran Desert.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. The IUCN Global Species Program has been working with the Species Survival Commission (SSC) since the mid-1900s to assess the conservation status of the world’s species by conducting global and regional assessments to estimate the level of extinction risk of each species. With more than 85,000 species assessed to date, the IUCN Red List is the most comprehensive and objective global approach to evaluate the conservation status of species, and as such, is an important tool for conservation planning, policy development, and prioritization.

In the Sonoran Desert, IUCN Red List Assessments are currently available for all known species of cacti, amphibians, mammals, birds, and freshwater fishes. The featured speakers on our panel will provide an overview of IUCN Red List assessments, summarize the findings and conservation implications of the global lagomorph, small mammal, and cactus assessments, and introduce the new proposed assessment of the almost 4,000 plant species of the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion. A panel discussion will follow the individual presentations.

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