(10-02-11) Although criticized for incomplete, because many endangered species do not appear due to economical pressures, the new Spanish Catalogue for Threatened Species has been passed. It actualizes the previous catalogue and it is created a List of Wild Species in Special Protection Regime, adapting this public register to the Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Act.
The new Spanish Catalogue for Threatened Species is one of the most important legal instruments to protect biodiversity in Spain, and classifies wild species in order to importance regarding their conservation needs.
This way, public participation is enabled and a Scientific Committee created to asses the procedure to include, change category or exclude species in the List and the Catalogue.
The ministers have passed the Royal Decree for the Development of Wild Species List in Special Protection Regime and the Spanish Catalogue of Threatened Species, which is an important legal support to biodiversity from development of the Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Act.
The Royal Decree provides the characteristics, content and procedures for including, changing category and exclusion of species in the List and the Catalogue; the guidelines for periodic evaluation of the conservation status of these species; content features and conservation strategies; technical conditions for the reintroduction of extinct species and populations strengthening; as well as natural conditions needed for the survival or recovery of endangered wild species and aspects related to cooperation for their conservation.
The List passed by the Royal Decree includes species, subspecies and populations of Spanish fauna and flora that need specific protection measures by Public Administrations and within it the Spanish Catalogue of Threaten Species has been provided, where there are two categories: “endangered” and “vulnerable”.
This is the most criticized point of the new catalogue, and, as we can see in the box, it leaves out twenty endangered species of cetaceans, turtles or the Cymodocea nodosa, which forms meadows that are essential for many species.
ALTHOUGH INCOMPLETE, IT IS A BASIC TOOL
Even though, it is a basic conservation tool since it classified the importance of the species regarding needs of protection, and it is a reference to optimize and prioritize the acting of the public administrations, organizations and citizens regarding protection of biodiversity.
Species, subspecies and populations included need regular assessment of their conservation status, the prohibition of capture, killing and destruction of their breeding, wintering or resting areas, as well as adoption of recovery or conservation plans in case of being considered "endangered" or "vulnerable”.
With the approval of the new Royal Decree the existing catalogue of endangered species existing since 1990 and last revised in 2006 is actualized, adapting it to the Law on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity. The new list and catalogue integrate 898 species, which is an increase in the level of protection of 327 species. Specifically, they include 288 new species protected by European directives and agreements signed by Spain, and increase the category of protection to 39 species that were already in the previous catalogue.
One of the most important contributions is the establishment of a dynamic process of updating the List and Catalogue through its review by an independent scientific committee that will review the conservation status of species, taking charge of the proposed inclusion, exclusion or category changes, and the possibility of public participation in these proposals.
The text of this new Royal Decree has been agreed with the regions and it has been the subject of a lengthy consultation process in which several ministries and regional governments, interested sectors, environmental associations and scientific organizations and professionals have participated, although not all of them were in complete agreement with the contents of the proposals.
To see the National Catalogue of Threatened Species, list of taxa in categories of threat, click here.
Text: Guadalupe Romero / Marta Madina