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Dieren en planten

Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Nature policy   Red Lists   

Red Lists

Red Lists are lists containing plant and animal species which are being threatened in their existence. The Red Lists are regularly revised, sometimes once every ten years. In the Netherlands, the Ministry for Nature (LNV) has commissioned Red Lists for various species, such as birds, mammals, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians, crickets and grasshoppers, freshwater fish, toadstools and lichens. In addition to the threatened species, the Red List contains protective measures to help these species recover in number. The goal is to decrease the number of species on the list in the following publication. Because a Red List has no legal status, the threatened species are included in the Flora and Fauna Act.

  • Sensitive, vulnerable, threatened, endangered or extinct

    A plant or animal species is added to the Red List if it is rare and the population is declining. If a species is very rare and its population is strongly declining, this species will most likely disappear in the Netherlands. The rareness and decline is tested based upon inventories, whereby the whole country is divided into 'hour squares'. The degree of rareness and decline of a species determines in which Red List category it is placed: sensitive, vulnerable, threatened, endangered or extinct.
    Red Lists give insight into the habitats where the most threatened species live and the species groups which have the most difficulty. New nature policy can be made based upon this insight. Red Lists are less suitable as a tool for evaluating nature policy. Successful nature policy should mean that species increase in number and the lists become shorter. However, nature reacts very slowly to changes due to nature policy, whereby the effects are only visible after a longer period of time.

  • Cormorants and sparrows

    The cormorant is an example of a species which profited from the Red List. Since 1985, this bird was on the list of threatened birds in the Netherlands, however the colonies particularly around the IJsselmeer, have grown so large that the bird has been removed from the list since 1994. The house sparrow was added to the Red List in 2004. According to the Bird Society, the large decline in the number of house sparrows in the Netherlands is because the Dutch are too tidy. In addition, there are fewer nesting areas because the sparrows are no longer able to make nests in roofs due to flat roof tiles or grates to keep them away.
    There are also Red Lists for the combined wadden region of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark for habitats and plant and animal species.

  • Not legally protected

    Although the species on the Red List have no legal protection, the government is legally required to try to protect these species and to promote research for this purpose. It is expected that provinces, towns and organizations that manage terrains take Red Lists into consideration when making policy and during management.