Data storage & data sharing


The data underlying the Red Listing process are vital in order to devise conservation priorities, strategies and actions, so keeping these data maintained and safe is vital to conservation planning and decision-making.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), in cooperation with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, have developed the SANBI Species Status Database, a website which provides a centralised storage location for information on the status of South African species. The database provides basic information for each of the species, such as descriptions of their habitat, common names and distribution ranges. In addition to this, it not only contains information on the species status as assessed through national assessments, but also the global IUCN Red List status and information on CITES listings and other legislation relevant to the species.

The IUCN Red List’s species database is called the Species Information Service (SIS). It is an online system for centralized data storage, and ensures that data is consistently entered in the same format for all species. SIS links directly to the Red List website and thus facilitates publication of species assessments on the global Red List. To facilitate species assessments at the sub-global level and aid the publication of species assessed via national or regional assessment processes, the IUCN has developed SIS as an open-source and free software; the source code can be used by anyone to re-create a “personal” or “standalone” SIS. However, at present, the process of developing this is not as straightforward as it sounds, and requires substantial technical support. Work is currently under way to improve this.

To find out more about IUCN’s Species Information Service, check out the information on the IUCN Red List website.

Data sharing

The National Red List website provides a means to share national and regional Red List data globally, and irrespective of the category system used for species assessment. At present, our database comprises close to 86,000 species accounts from across the globe, with new information coming in fast. We are constantly working to improve the coverage of the database, particularly to make the data in older and hard-to-access assessments more publically available. For example, we have been working with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to include national red list data from their library, which has led to more than 8,500 plant assessments from nine countries uploaded since December 2013, with a similar number of assessments wai ting for upload. Similarly, recent collaboration with BirdLife Europe has given us access to a number of European Bird Red Lists which were difficult to access otherwise. To date, this has led to an additional 1,200 species assessments from eight European countries or regions to be included in the database.

Since the Red List assessments of species stored in this database have been made using a variety of assessment methods, not only those recommended by IUCN, we will always list the assessment method if known, and where possible further information about that process used, detailing criteria definitions etc.  We do not at any stage review the quality of assessments. Registered users of the site may then download search results.

If you feel you would like to contribute to the National Red List website, you can submit your national or regional Red List data for upload onto the National Red List website’s species database using this simple template spreadsheet (COMING SOON). You can find some sample data to show the kind of information we are expecting under each of the column headers here (COMING SOON) (NOTE: columns in red are to be compiled by us, so these should be left blank) Once you have compiled your list then simply save your file in a “.csv” format and email us ([email protected]) and please include the requested contact details clearly in the email.

Alternatively, we can also link to your national red list through our online library – just let us know the link to your publication or send us a pdf version.