Our understanding of the world’s amphibians has changed significantly over the last three decades, and continues to change at a rapid pace. Prior to the Global Amphibian Assessment (GAA), which comprehensively assessed the extinction risk of 5,743 known amphibian species in 2004, the conservation status of fewer than 1,000 species had been assessed, mainly in Australia, North America, and Europe. Since then, new species continue to be described at a rate of about one new species every other day, reaching over 7,700 in late 2017, and these are being incorporated in the regular updates of the amphibian data on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The GAA revealed that amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate group on earth, with about one in three species threatened with extinction. The threat drivers are diverse and can act both on their own and in synergy with each other: habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, invasive species, disease and trade, to mention some of the most pressing issues. Given the global scale of the issue coordinated action is needed to better address worldwide amphibian declines and extinctions.
Following the 2005 Amphibian Conservation Summit in Washington, DC, where participants developed what later became the 2007 Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP), the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) established the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) by amalgamating the Declining Amphibian Population Task Force (DAPTF) with the Global Amphibian Specialist Group (GASG).
The ASG’s mission is to provide the scientific foundation to inform effective amphibian conservation action around the world. In order to do this ASG relies on three pillars: 1) its regional groups, 2) ACAP working groups, and 3) its Amphibian Red List Authority. In addition, the ASG works very closely with another two globally-scoped amphibian networks, the Amphibian Ark (focusing on species that cannot be safeguarded in nature) and the Amphibian Survival Alliance (focusing on building institution-level partnerships to implement conservation action).
To learn more about ASG and what it does please visit http://www.amphibians.org/asg/ or contact asg[at]amphibians.org.