The red list

English summary

This is the second regional red list over threatened animals and plants in Greenland. The first list included 2007 (Boertmann 2008). Since then the list has been amended with all the vascular plants in Greenland – in total 490 species/subspecies. This means than 602 taxa/populations including 38 mammals, 66 birds, three freshwater fish, five butterflies, two quill-wort, seven club mosses, five horsetails, 26 ferns and 450 flowering plants now have been evaluated in a red list context applying IUCN criteria.

The Greenlandic stock of goose is a special species that only breeds in Greenland (endemic). The stock is in decline, which is why it is considered “endangered“. The picture shows a younger bird that has not developed the full blaze yet. Photo: C. Egevang / Arc-pic.com.

The results of the evaluation are presented in two tables (Rødliste), and among the animals are 12 species/subspecies/separate populations evaluated as Near Threatened (NT), 17 as Vulnerable (VU), five as Endangered (EN), one as Critically Endangered (CR), two as regionally extinct (RE) and one as extinct (EX). Among the vascular plants 31 are Near Threatened (NT), 60 are Vulnerable (VU) and one is Regionally Extinct (RE).

This means that 22% of the evaluated species are red listed.

The only extinct (EX) taxon is the East Greenland caribou, which died out in the late 1800’s, probably due to severe winter conditions. EX is usually not applied in regional red lists (IUCN 2012), but as the taxon actually is globally extinct we use it here.

Regionally extinct (RE) taxa include, two birds and a thistle. One of the birds – the field fare – disappeared following some severe winters before 1990, and the two other species of unknown reasons.

Critically endangered (CR) species include only Harbour seal. This seal was hunted on a non-sustainable level until it became protected in 2010, and so far, there are no signs of recovery, but it may be favoured by the climatic changes. The 2007-list included six critically endangered species/populations. Four of these has been down-listed due to increasing populations: Walrus (North Water population), bowhead whale (Spitsbergen population), white whale and narwhal (West Greenland population).

Endangered (EN) species include five species/populations: Two birds – Greenland white-fronted goose and common guillemot. These were also evaluated as EN in 2007. The three mammals are narwhal (East Greenland population), sei whale and northern right whale. There is new data on the narwhal population in East Greenland, which indicate population decline and non-sustainable hunt. Sei whale was evaluated as data deficient (DD) in 2007. Now the evaluation follows the global (IUCN) evaluation. Northern right whale was assessed as CR in 2007, but now follows the global (IUCN) evaluation.

Vulnerable (VU) species/populations include 17 species of animals (ten mammals, seven birds and one freshwater fish) and 60 species vascular plants (one club moss, one quill wort, one horsetail, seven ferns and 43 flowering plants).

Near threatened species/populations include twelve animals (nine birds, four mammals) and 31 vascular plants (one fern and 30 flowering plants).

Arktisk leverurt (Parnassia kotzebúei) has a very limited and local distribution in Greenland, and is therefore considered “near threatened” (NT). Photo: David Boertmann.

Since the 2007 red list eleven species/populations have been up-listed (four) or down-listed (seven) (Ændrede vurderinger). Those up-listed include the Canadian high arctic light-bellied brent goose (LC to NT), because it have established a very small breeding population in northwest Greenland, Atlantic puffin (NT to VU) due to decreasing population, snowy owl (LC to NT) due to expected population decrease and hooded seal (LV to VU) due to decreasing population. The down-listed species/populations include common eider (VU to LC) due to population increase, harlequin duck (NT to LC) due to changed criterion for NT, walrus West Greenland population (EN to VU) due to increased population, walrus North Water population (CR to VU) due to increased population, bow head whale Spitsbergen population (CR to VU), due to increased population, white whale (CR to VU) due to increased population and narwhal (CR to NT) due to increased population and better data.

Fifteen species/populations were evaluated in 2007 as DD or NA due to erroneously application of the criteria, and these are now changed. Two local populations of caribou are now assessed as DD, due to lack of updated information.

References

Boertmann, D. 2008. Grønlands Rødliste 2007 (With a summary in English). – Grønlands Hjemmestyre og Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser, 152 p. LINK

IUCN 2012. Guidelines for Application of the IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels. Version 4.0. LINK

Updated 20.05.2019