Assessment Methods

The first comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of all amphibians was completed as the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA) in 2004, one of several global initiatives led by IUCN and partners to rapidly expand the geographic and taxonomic coverage of the IUCN Red List. Since 2004, the data have been updated in 2006 and again in 2008 to include new information and to take account of taxonomic changes and newly described or revalidated species.

This first assessment was implemented in three main stages:

  1. Data Collection
  2. Data Review
  3. Data Consolidation

Since the first assessment there have been two updates of the data.

Keeping the amphibian data accurate and up-to-date is an ongoing process that relies on the expertise of hundreds of herpetologists from all around the world. Almost 650 experts from over 60 countries have so far contributed to the assessment.

1. Data Collection

For every amphibian species currently known, the following data were collected (see Description of Data for further information):

  • Species classification
  • Geographic range (including a distribution map)
  • Red List Category and Criteria
  • Population information
  • Habitat preferences
  • Major threats
  • Conservation measures
  • Species Utilisation
  • Other General Information
  • Key literature references

The task of collecting the initial data at the very beginning of the assessment process was divided into 33 geographic regions that were defined to cover the global distribution of all amphibians. Regional coordinators were then appointed the responsibility of collecting data on all the amphibians in their region. Initial data collection began in most regions in 2001. See Table 1 for a list of the regions and the corresponding coordinator and number of species.

Region Coordinator Number of species
Africa Alan Channing and Simon Stuart 683
Amazonian Brazil Claudia Azevedo-Ramos 179
Atlantic Forest-Cerrado-Caatinga Debora Silvano 469
Australia Jean-Marc Hero 212
Bolivia Claudia Cortez 43
Borneo Robert Inger 141
Caribbean Blair Hedges 170
Chile Alberto Veloso 49
China and the Koreas Michael Wai Nang Lau 317
Colombia Wilmar Bolivar and Fernando Castro 407
Costa Rica Bruce Young 179
Ecuador Santiago Ron and Luis Coloma 424
Europe Simon Stuart and Neil Cox 82
Guatemala Bruce Young 47
Honduras Gustavo Cruz 48
Japan Yoshio Kaneko 59
Madagascar and Seychelles Ron Nussbaum 222
Mainland Southeast Asia Peter Paul van Dijk 232
Mexico Georgina Santos 298
New Zealand Ben Bell 7
North America Geoffrey Hammerson 261
Northern Eurasia Sergius Kuzmin 48
Panama Frank Solis 185
Papuan Region Steve Richards 305
Paraguay Lucy Aquino 33
Peru Javier Icochea, Lily Rodriguez and Ariadne Angulo 294
Philippines Arvin Diesmos 100
South Asia Sushil Dutta 311
Southern Cone of Argentina Esteban Lavilla and Carmen Ubeda 108
Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi Djoko Iskandar 144
The Guianas Bob Reynolds 63
Venezuela Enrique La Marca 294
West Asia Theodore Papenfuss 44
Table 1. The regional coordinators for the initial data collection.

Definitions for the more complex regions listed in Table 1 are as follows:

  • Africa includes all countries in Africa except Madagascar and the Seychelles.
  • Atlantic Forest-Cerrado-Caatinga includes all of Brazil, except the Amazon Basin.
  • Borneo includes Brunei, Kalimantan (Indonesia) and Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia).
  • Caribbean includes Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, British and U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • China and the Koreas includes China, North Korea and South Korea.
  • Europe includes Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • Northern Eurasia includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Mongolia.
  • South Asia includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
  • Mainland Southeast Asia includes Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.
  • North America includes the United States of America and Canada.
  • Papuan Region includes the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (only Papua and the Maluku Islands (including Halmahera, Ceram, Obi, Misool, Aru, Ambon, Buru and Kai)), Fiji and Palau.
  • Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi includes Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, the Sula Islands, and the Lesser Sunda Islands (east to Tanimbar, and including East Timor).
  • West Asia includes Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

The data that was collected was entered into the SIS Data Entry Module database by each coordinator and then sent back to the central coordinating team for review.

2. Data Review

All the data collected in the initial stage of the assessment was subject to peer review. For most regions this was done through expert workshops, and in a small number of regions it was completed through individual reviews of the data by leading herpetologists in the region.

There were 14 workshops held in various countries to review the data. At each workshop amphibian experts for the region were invited to participate and contribute their knowledge as well as to comment on the data already compiled by the regional coordinators.

Each workshop is listed below with a photograph of the participants where available.

Australia: Hobart, Tasmania, 6-8 February 2001
Host: World Wide Fund for Nature – Australia

China and the Koreas: Chengdu, China, 18-21 March 2002
Host: Chengdu Institute of Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences

China and the Koreas: Chengdu, China, 18-21 March 2002

Africa: Watamu, Kenya, 16-18 April 2002

South Asia: Coimbatore, India, 1-5 July 2002
Host: The Zoo Outreach Organisation and the Wildlife Information Liaison Development Society (a joint workshop with the CBSG CAMP process).

Southeast Asia (merging the Mainland Southeast Asia, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and Philippines regions): Bangkok, Thailand, 30 September - 4 October 2002
Host: IUCN Regional Office for Asia.

Southeast Asia (merging the Mainland Southeast Asia, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and Philippines regions): Bangkok, Thailand, 30 September - 4 October 2002

Meso America (merging the Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama regions): La Selva, Costa Rica, 11-15 November 2002
Host: IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica.

Meso America (merging the Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama regions): La Selva, Costa Rica, 11-15 November 2002

Papuan Region: Hawaii, United States, 24-27 February 2003
Host: The Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Papuan Region: Hawaii, United States, 24-27 February 2003

Tropical South America East of the Andes (merging the Amazonian Brazil, Atlantic Forest-Cerrado-Caatinga, Paraguay, and Guianas regions, and parts of the Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela regions ): Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 31 March - 4 April 2003
Host: Conservation International’s Brazilian Center for Biodiversity Conservation.

Tropical South America East of the Andes (merging the Amazonian Brazil, Atlantic Forest-Cerrado-Caatinga, Paraguay, and Guianas regions, and parts of the Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela regions): Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 31 March - 4 April 2003

Tropical Andes (merging the remaining parts of the Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia regions): Tandayapa, Ecuador, 18-22 August 2003
Host: Conservation International’s Andean Center for Biodiversity Conservation.

Tropical Andes (merging the remaining parts of the Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia regions): Tandayapa, Ecuador, 18-22 August 2003

Madagascar: Gland, Switzerland, 22-25 September 2003
Host: IUCN.

Chile: Concepción, Chile, 3-4 October 2003
Host: Universidad de Concepción.

Chile: Concepción, Chile, 3-4 October 2003

Argentina and Uruguay: Puerto Madryn, Argentina, 12-14 October 2003
Host: La Asociación Herpetológica Argentina.

Argentina and Uruguay: Puerto Madryn, Argentina, 12-14 October 2003

Caecilians: London, United Kingdom, 23-25 February 2004
Host: atural History Museum.

Caribbean: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 19-21 March 2004
Host: The United Nations office in the Dominican Republic.

Caribbean: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 19-21 March 2004

There were some regions that for various reasons were reviewed by correspondence rather than a workshop. These regions are listed below:

  • Northern Eurasia
  • Seychelles
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • West Asia
  • North America

In Australia, the process involved both a workshop and a review by correspondence. For the 2004 release of the data, Mediterranean species were only reviewed by correspondence and then in December 2004 a workshop was held to further review these species and these edits were included in the 2006 update.

The data from North America was not reviewed in the same depth as that from the rest of the world, mainly because time did not permit consultations involving many of the very large number of experts who could potentially be involved. However, the data from this region was already very good, since so much prior work has been focused on amphibians in this region, and is readily available in the published literature.

3. Data Consolidation

As the review of data was completed, region by region, the information was consolidated by the central coordinating team at the Biodiversity Assessment Unit. Specific tasks that needed to be addressed included:

  1. Ensuring consistency in the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria between regions and taxonomic groups.
  2. Proof reading and correcting the text accounts for all species.
  3. Final editing of maps to ensure that small islands near the coast were not incorrectly included in species distributions.
  4. Final resolution of remaining outstanding issues, mainly to do with taxonomic problems.
  5. Inclusion of newly described species, and other taxonomic changes.

The 2006 Update

Since the initial release of the data in 2004 there has been constant updating and upgrading of the information. Rather than being a systematic review of all species the 2006 update concentrated on:

  • Adding new species described up to the end of 2005.
  • Correcting any mistakes brought to our attention since the initial 2004 data release.
  • Keeping up-to-date with current taxonomy.
  • Correction of data on the basis of information not previously available to the assessment that was provided from herpetologists all around the world subsequent to the first release of the data.
  • Further review of the data for the Mediterranean region was completed at a joint reptile and amphibian workshop in Malaga, Spain from the 13-17 December 2004. It was hosted by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation.
  • Inclusion of any new information that was sent from herpetologists around the world, in particular new publications as well as new information regarding genuine changes in species’ status.

The book Threatened Amphibians of the World published in 2008, includes an in-depth analysis of the 2006 updated data. The 2006 updated data was also included in the 2006 IUCN Red List and was made available on the GAA website accompanied by key findings and the updated searchable database (see the top of this page) providing detailed species-by-species information.

2008 Update

Following on from the 2006 update, further updates were made to the amphibian data up until the end of August 2008. Although not a systematic review of all species there were some significant changes implemented in this update. The main changes were:

  • Adding new species described up to the end of 2007.
  • Correcting any mistakes brought to our attention.
  • Keeping up-to-date with current taxonomy. In particular the new taxonomy of Frost et al. (2006) was adopted.
  • Correction of data on the basis of information not previously available.
  • Two workshops were held where species were reviewed and reassessed:
    • a Salamander workshop was held at the Colegio de la Frontera Sur - San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in Mexico, from August 6-7, 2007.
    • a Costa Rican workshop was hosted by the Universidad de Costa Rica, in San José, Costa Rica from August 10-12, 2007 (a joint workshop with the CBSG CAMP process).
  • NatureServe completed a substantial update of the North American amphibian data, led by Geoff Hammerson of NatureServe.
  • Inclusion of any new information that was sent from herpetologists around the world, in particular new publications as well as new information regarding genuine changes in species’ status.

Unfortunately due to time and funding constraints it has not been possible to update all of the information in the database every year. We sincerely apologise to those people who have sent us many helpful comments that have not yet been included, and promise that these will be our first priority for inclusion in the next update of the data. We also realise there are some newly described species that were inadvertently missed in each update and we endeavour to include these in the next update, as well as species that are no longer considered valid.

The 2008 updated data is incorporated within the 2008 IUCN Red List and is the most recent version of the data. You can search the database (see the top of this page) to see detailed species-by-species information, and also available on this website is the Analysis of Amphibians.

References

Frost, D.R., Grant, T., Faivovich, J., Bain, R.H., Haas, A., Haddad, C.F.B., De Sá, R.O., Channing, A., Wilkinson, M., Donnellan, S.C., Raxworthy, C.J., Campbell, J.A., Blotto, B.L., Moler, P., Drewes, R.C., Nussbaum, R.A., Lynch, J.D., Green, D.M. and Wheeler, W.C. 2008 The Amphibian Tree of Life, Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 297.