New Zealand Threat Classification System

The New Zealand Threat Classification System is used by the Department of Conservation to assess conservation priorities of species in New Zealand.[1]

The system was developed because the IUCN Red List, a similar conservation status system, had some shortcomings for the unique requirements of conservation ranking in New Zealand.

Structure of New Zealand threat classification system


Species that are ranked are assigned categories:

Introduced and Naturalised

These are any species that are deliberately or accidentally introduced into New Zealand.


Vagrants are taxa that are rare in New Zealand that have made their own way and do not breed successfully.


These taxa have arrived in new Zealand without human help and reproduce successfully.


Migrant species are those that visit New Zealand as part of their life cycle.

Data Deficient

This category lists taxa for which insufficient information is available to make as assessment on conservation status.


Taxa for which there is no reasonable doubt that no individuals exist are ranked as extinct. For these lists only species that have become extinct since 1840 are listed.


This category has three major divisions:

This division is further broken down into:

  • Nationally Critical - equivalent to the IUCN category of Critically endangered
  • Nationally Endangered - equivalent to the IUCN category of Endangered
  • Nationally Vulnerable - equivalent to the IUCN category of Vulnerable

This has two categories:

  • Serious Decline
  • Gradual Decline

This has two categories:

  • Range Restricted
  • Sparse
Not Threatened

If taxa fit into none of the other categories they are listed in the Not Threatened category.


A series of qualifiers are used to give additional information on the threat classification:[1]

EW Extinct in the Wild Exists only in cultivation or in captivity
CD Conservation Dependent Likely to move to a higher threat category if current management ceases
DP Data Poor Confidence in the listing is low due to the poor data available for assessment
RC Recovering Total population showing a sustained recovery
ST Stable Total population stable
SO Secure Overseas Secure in other parts of its natural range outside New Zealand
TO Threatened Overseas Threatened in those parts of its natural range outside New Zealand
HI Human Induced Present distribution is a result of direct or indirect human activity
RF Recruitment Failure Current population may appear stable but the age structure is such that catastrophic declines are likely in the future
EF Extreme Fluctuations Extreme unnatural population fluctuations, or natural fluctuations overlaying human-induced declines, that increase the threat of extinction
OL One Location Found at one location (geographically or ecologically distinct area) in which a single event (e.g. a predator irruption) could soon affect all individuals of the taxon

See also


  1. 1 2 Molloy, Janice; Bell, B.; Clout, M.; de Lange, P.; Gibbs, G.; Given, D.; Norton, D.; Smith, N.; Stephens, T. (2002). "Classifying species according to threat of extinction. A system for New Zealand" (pdf). Department of Conservation (New Zealand). Retrieved 2008-02-29. Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)

External links

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