Interpretation Note on definition of priority species published

The UKWAS Steering Group has published Interpretation Note 9.

The note addresses a request for interpretation of UKWAS requirements in relation to thedefinition of “priority species” provided in the UKWAS 4 glossary.

The respondent noted that the glossary definition inter alia includes species “categorised as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List” and queried the status of those animal and tree species on the IUCN Red List which are present in the UK but are  not native.

The interpretation request was considered by the UKWAS Interpretation Panel which was convened and independently chaired by Graham Gill OBE. The panel reached the following conclusion:

The definition of “priority species” includes species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This includes species present, but not native, in the UK such as Chinese water deer and a number of non-native conifer species relevant to UK forestry. The wording in the Standard implies a requirement for a degree of protection for such species which is neither intended nor justified.

For the purpose of UKWAS, IUCN Red List species will qualify as priority species only if they are within or geographically close to their natural range as described by IUCN global or regional lists.

The Interpretation Note, which was approved by the Steering Group in November 2019, can be downloaded here.