(Down to Earth: Wildlife & Biodiversity)
Jan 10: Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category – https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/red-sanders-falls-back-in-iucn-s-endangered-category-81053
- GS-3: Biodiversity and Conservation
Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category
In News: Red Sanders (Red Sandalwood) has fallen back into the ‘endangered’ category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
- Also scheduled in appendix II of CITES and Wildlife Protection Act
- The species, Pterocarpus santalinus, is an Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted geographical range in the Eastern Ghats.
- Found in Tropical Dry Deciduous forest in Andhra Pradesh; usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and dry climate.
- It was classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2018 and has now joined the ‘endangered’ list once again in 2021.
- Known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties, are high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments.
- Costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.
“Over the last three generations, the species has experienced a population decline of 50-80 per cent. It is assessed as Endangered” – Latest IUCN Assessment
How did it fall in the endangered category?
- The species is dwindling in its natural habitat due to over-exploitation.
- The over-harvest of the species has left the population structure skewed, with trees of harvestable size and maturity being scarce and making up less than 5 per cent of the trees remaining in the wild.
- The harvest of the tree is also restricted at the state level, but despite this illegal trade continues. This is evidenced by the large volume of timber and Red Sanders products seized by authorities at all stages of the illegal supply. All this despite the physical deterrents and patrols in place in Andhra Pradesh, as well as international, national and state-level laws preventing the cutting and transport of species.
- The slow growth of the species and continued harvesting leaves no time for the species to recover naturally. Cattle grazing and invasive species also threaten the species.
About IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- It was established in 1964, by the IUCN and has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species.
- The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity.
- It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species.
- It provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats, and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions.
- It is used by government agencies, wildlife departments, conservation-related NGOs, natural resource planners, educational organisations, students, and the business community.
- The Index is available for five groups: birds, mammals, amphibians, corals and cycads.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is part of a multilateral treaty that includes plant, animals and birds under varying categories of threat of extinction and which will be jointly protected by members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- India is a signatory to CITES.