Updating IUCN Red List rangemaps

I posted a procedure for updating IUCN conservation statuses last week
and @lawnranger asked about iNat taxon ranges sourced to IUCN. This isn’t as much a priority but I thought I’d outline an analogous procedure for how we could go about updating these while not squashing intentional community “deviations”.

Each taxon should have no more than one taxon range (we can add a constraint enforcing this). And distributions should be global so that outside the range can be interpreted as ‘out of range’ as opposed to just ‘out of scope’. This makes the IUCN range maps a nice source of these taxon ranges.

The proposed procedure will do taxonomic matching as described in the IUCN status procedure. All taxon ranges coming from IUCN should have IUCN Redlist as the source. This means that the procedure will freely update any existing taxon ranges with an IUCN Redlist source or create new ones if such an IUCN range is available and the iNat taxa has no other taxon ranges. Here’s an example of the taxon range edit screen showing IUCN Redlist as the source

Here’s how deviations could work. Using Agalychnis callidryas as an example. IUCN considers it to be a single species (blue and pink). But iNat considers it to be just pink with blue split off as Agalychnis taylori


As pat of the taxon split, I deleted the existing taxon range for Agalychnis callidryas (sourced to IUCN) and replaced it with a new taxon range that I manually derived from the IUCN range (here’s a great tutorial on how to manipulate taxon ranges using GIS software for this iNat taxon range application). But importantly, the derived taxon range does not have IUCN as a source (which will signal us not to automatically replace/update it) and instead the description includes information on how it was manually derived.

The same approach should be taken for documenting any other taxon ranges on taxa not matching names in IUCN (e.g. A. taylori). That is, make sure the source is not set to IUCN RedList and if necessary describe how the range was derived in the description.

If curators want to yank an IUCN range that has issues (maybe for the taxonomic mismatch reasons described above or maybe for some other reasons) and don’t want us to automatically replace it with the IUCN range but can’t/won’t provide a replacement, they can signal this by creating a new taxon range with no kml attachment. Its essentially an empty placeholder taxon range that can be used to document (in the description) why the IUCN range was removed and should be ignored and link to a flag where the discussion took place. The automatic update will skip situations where such placeholder ranges exist.

While I think this process would work, before doing this we’d want to make sure we all had time to properly stub out or otherwise configure taxon ranges to signal existing deviations in the ways described above. I suggest we start with a manageable group like reptiles and amphibians, and we can come up with a process to review the existing ranges and properly document deviations before updating.

Let me know if anyone has feedback on this proposed procedure.

6 Likes

It’s possible that at some point I might have added a range map and credited it to IUCN, when in fact it was split off from an IUCN map. I don’t think that I did, but is there a way for you to send me a list of maps added by me so that I could double check them?

3 Likes

Again, with the Red List it’s a good idea to be a bit skeptical of the range map data. For some species it’s missing, for others it’s out of date, for others it’s plain wrong, and for others it’s fine.

Take the Asian Openbill stork, Anastomus oscitans, for example:

The iNaturalist observations show a range that extends through northern Vietnam and into southern China, and one of the areas they’re found in abundance in Vietnam has been a common spot for them for more than 30 years.

Currently the Red List does not have a range map for them, which is strange because prior to the redesign of the Red List site they did have a range map, which appeared to be based off of the map Birdlife International uses, which is wildly incorrect for the eastern portion of the species range as it completely excludes most of Vietnam, all of Laos, and southern China.

For the flagship species of my current work it took 5 years to get them to update information that was already 6 years out of date and incorrect when I started the process.

The short version is, yes, use the information, but recognize that it likely has errors, often significant ones, and for the most accurate information it’s best to be contacting organizations that work specifically with said species.

6 Likes

Great to see options for the iNat community to update rangemaps at a faster pace.

I’ve shared this with loarie before, but my favorite Red List distribution map hiccup is when someone digitized a big question mark over Gabon for the Green-backed Twinspot (Mandingoa nitidula). This is from 2012 and has long since been fixed! For those that aren’t aware, the Red List is volunteer-driven and not adequately resourced relative to the massive scope of being the world’s database on conservation status.

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I spent a little time experimenting with this new proposed process for updating iNat taxon range from IUCN with a relatively small group (Salamanders, order Caudata, with 686 species sensu IUCN). Of the 686 names in IUCN, 678 match iNat, 4 can be matched through a one to one relationship, 4 can be matched one-to-one to an iNat name and there are 167 remaining iNat salamanders that can’t be matched to IUCN. Here’s a table showing the mapping.

We’d like to get to a place where (as described above) we can automatically update these 678+4 matching ranges by adding a new range if one doesn’t exist in iNat, and if one does exist updating it if the source is IUCN. But that assumes we’re doing a good job of ensuring that a taxon range source reflects whether a range is from IUCN or was manually narrowed etc. We can do this moving forward, but we can’t do it now without a bit more cleanup work.

I’d like to pilot this cleanup work here with Salamanders and if it works well we can try it for other groups. I could use some help. I’ve turned this post into a wiki. First step is to look at all the salamander taxon ranges in iNat now that can’t be matched to IUCN and make sure these are ‘good’ ranges meaning that we should keep them. If they are please indicate whether to keep or not as I’ve done to (1) below along with clarifying notes if it helps. The entries link to the species and show the taxon range source title and descriptions if they exist (jwidness unfortunately we’re not storing the taxon range creator but we should start doing that). We can use this table to destroy ranges we should remove and make sure the remaining ones don’t have an IUCN

Check Salamanders with taxon ranges in iNat that aren’t matched to IUCN

  1. Hynobius perplicatus, Disentangling the Impacts of Speciation, Sympatry and the Island Effect on the Morphology of Seven Hynobius sp. Salamanders,
    Keep: Yes Notes: I believe amarzee made this range
  2. Hynobius notialis, Disentangling the Impacts of Speciation, Sympatry and the Island Effect on the Morphology of Seven Hynobius sp. Salamanders,
  3. Hynobius geojeensis, Disentangling the Impacts of Speciation, Sympatry and the Island Effect on the Morphology of Seven Hynobius sp. Salamanders,
  4. Aneides iecanus, unknown, manually altered from IUCN A. flavipunctatus range following Reilly and Wake https://peerj.com/articles/7370/
  5. Aneides niger, Draft IUCN/SSC, manually altered from IUCN A. flavipunctatus range following Reilly and Wake https://peerj.com/articles/7370/
  6. Desmognathus valentinei, unknown, Manually edited from IUCN range for Desmognathus auriculatus following http://novataxa.blogspot.com/2017/05/desmognathus-valentinei.html
  7. Cynops wolterstorffi, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,
  8. Necturus moleri, unknown, Manually carved off from IUCN range for N beyeri following
    Guyer, C., Murray, C., Bart, H. L., Crother, B. I., Chabarria, R. E., Bailey, M. A., & Dunn, K. (2020). Colour and size reveal hidden diversity of Necturus (Caudata: Proteidae) from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the United States. Journal of Natural History, 1–27. doi:10.1080/00222933.2020.1736677
    https://sci-hub.se/10.1080/00222933.2020.1736677
  9. Necturus mounti, unknown, Manually carved off from IUCN range for N beyeri following
    Guyer, C., Murray, C., Bart, H. L., Crother, B. I., Chabarria, R. E., Bailey, M. A., & Dunn, K. (2020). Colour and size reveal hidden diversity of Necturus (Caudata: Proteidae) from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the United States. Journal of Natural History, 1–27. doi:10.1080/00222933.2020.1736677
    https://sci-hub.se/10.1080/00222933.2020.1736677
  10. Eurycea nerea, unknown,
  11. Eurycea braggi, unknown,
  12. Desmognathus conanti, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  13. Bolitoglossa coaxtlahuacana, unknown, Manually created from type location following https://amphibiansoftheworld.amnh.org/
  14. Plethodon pauleyi, unknown, Manually narrowed from IUCN range for Plethodon wehrlei by carving off P. pauleyi and P. jacksoni
  15. Pseudoeurycea granitum, unknown, Manually created from type location following https://amphibiansoftheworld.amnh.org/
  16. Ommatotriton nesterovi, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019, IUCN range for Ommatotriton ophryticus split at Sansun per Üzüm et al. split follows approximated watershed between major rivers.
    Olgun, K., Arntzen, J., Kuzmin, S., Papenfuss, T., Ugurtas, I.H., Tarkhnishvili, D., Sparreboom, M., Anderson, S., Tuniyev, B., Ananjeva, N.B., Kaska, Y., Kumlutaş, Y., Avci, A., Üzüm, N. & Kaya, U. 2009. Ommatotriton ophryticus (errata version published in 2019). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T136019A155801190. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-1.RLTS.T136019A155801190.en. Downloaded on 03 November 2020.
    Üzüm, N., A. Avcı, K. Olgun, U. Bülbül, M. Fahrbach, S. N. Litvinchuk, and B. Wielstra. 2019. Cracking cryptic species: external characters to distinguish two recently recognized banded newt species (Ommatotriton ophryticus and O. nesterovi). Salamandra 55: 131–134.
  17. Aneides klamathensis, unknown, manually altered from IUCN A. flavipunctatus range following Reilly and Wake https://peerj.com/articles/7370/
  18. Siren reticulata, unknown, Manually drawn from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0207460
  19. Plethodon jacksoni, unknown, Manually narrowed from IUCN range for Plethodon wehrlei by carving off P. pauleyi and P. jacksoni
  20. Eurycea arenicola, unknown, Map based on ecogeographic boundaries of the North Carolina Sandhills from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
    https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Habitats
  21. Plethodon chattahoochee, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  22. Plethodon mississippi, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  23. Plethodon ocmulgee, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  24. Plethodon grobmani, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  25. Plethodon savannah, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  26. Eurycea hillisi, unknown,
  27. Pseudoeurycea exspectata, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,
  28. Eurycea paludicola, unknown,
  29. Eurycea sphagnicola, unknown,
  30. Paramesotriton labiatus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,
  31. Plethodon chlorobryonis, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  32. Plethodon variolatus, Draft IUCN/SSC,
  33. Lyciasalamandra billae, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,
  34. Necturus louisianensis, unknown, Split from IUCN range for Necturus maculosus (sensu lato) following spp map in Conant & Collins
  35. Desmognathus organi, unknown,
  36. Batrachoseps altasierrae, unknown, Adapted from http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/wake/379_Jockusch%20et%20al%202012%20Zootaxa.pdf
  37. Batrachoseps bramei, unknown, Adapted from http://ib.berkeley.edu/labs/wake/379_Jockusch%20et%20al%202012%20Zootaxa.pdf
  38. Eurycea subfluvicola, unknown, Drawn from description of only known locality on http://research.amnh.org/
  39. Eurycea aquatica, unknown,
  40. Desmognathus planiceps, unknown, Adapted from description on http://research.amnh.org/ and GBIF points
  41. Pseudotriton montanus diastictus, Draft IUCN/SSC,
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The above handles cleaning salamander ranges already in iNat that can’t be matched to iNat. We can also easily add new ranges for any species that are missing ranges. But what about the species that already have iNat ranges. Is it safe to update them? Or will doing so squash work done by others to manually edit/narrow these ranges. As mentioned, in the future we can use the taxon range source to filter these out but since its not clear curators have been doing this up to now its worth being a bit more careful.

I did a comparison of the 600 or so salamanders that can be matched across IUCN and iNat and already have iNat ranges. First I checked whether the ranges are contained in the same place (these places are countries including states/provinces for these large countries United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Russia, China, India, South Africa, New Zealand). If a the Current IUCN Range and the Current iNat Range are contained in the same places I’m assuming that ranges are more or less the same (ie one wasn’t manually split in half on the iNat side which would indicate manual curation) and I propose we call these safe to update.

However there were ~60 where the Current iNat Range and Current IUCN Range fall within different places. For example, as shown below the Current iNat range (blue) is in Guatemala and Mexico whereas the Current IUCN range is just in Mexico (red). Note that where they overlap is purple. These require manual review to determine if these differences represent just an update on the IUCN side to an earlier version of the IUCN map on iNat or whether this is the painstaking work of a curator splitting a map. In this case since the maps are fairly similar and Bolitoglossa hartwegi hasn’t been split on iNat, we should consider this one ‘Safe to update’


In contrast, consider this map for Plethodon glutinosus where the Current iNat range is contained within the Current IUCN range. This is evidence that the iNat species was split and the range narrowed accordingly which is what happened. So here we’d say 'Not safe to update" and make sure that the source does not say IUCN to alert that the Current iNat range should not be replaced with the Current IUCN range. If an IUCN range also has major issues it should be marked as ‘Not safe to update’, but please explain these issues in your notes.

I’ve pasted the remaining maps below and made this post a wiki. If you can help determine ‘Safe to update’ vs ‘Not Safe to Update’ many thanks!

  1. Ambystoma laterale, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2017-3


    Safe to update Notes: in fact current iNat range seems to have major issues.

  2. Ambystoma granulosum, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,


    Safe to update Notes: differences appear to reflect minor update to the IUCN range and not intentional curation on iNat.

  3. Ambystoma leorae, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  4. Ambystoma mexicanum, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  5. Ambystoma ordinarium, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  6. Ambystoma rivulare, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  7. Bolitoglossa mexicana, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  8. Bolitoglossa occidentalis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  9. Bolitoglossa odonnelli, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  10. Bolitoglossa palmata, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  11. Bolitoglossa platydactyla, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  12. Bolitoglossa rufescens
    , IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  13. Bolitoglossa sima, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  14. Bolitoglossa yucatana, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  15. Desmognathus auriculatus, unknown, Manually narrowed from the IUCN range for Desmognathus auriculatus by carving off Desmognathus valentinei following http://novataxa.blogspot.com/2017/05/desmognathus-valentinei.html

  16. Chiropterotriton chondrostega, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  17. Chiropterotriton multidentatus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  18. Chiropterotriton terrestris, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  19. Liua shihi, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  20. Liua tsinpaensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  21. Ambystoma taylori, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  22. Cryptotriton nasalis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  23. Cynops orphicus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  24. Chiropterotriton orculus, Descriptions of five new species of the salamander genus Chiropterotriton (Caudata: Plethodontidae) from eastern Mexico and the status of three currently recognized taxa, Distribution map modified and updated following: https://peerj.com/articles/8800
    Populations of La Malinche mountain are an undescribed species. Populations from Hidalgo belong to C. dimidiatus or C. chico.

  25. Aquiloeurycea cephalica, unknown, Manually narrowed from IUCN range for Aquiloeurycea cephalica by carving off Aquiloeurycea cafetalera portion here https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271212741_A_new_species_of_Pseudoeurycea_from_the_cloud_forest_in_Veracruz_Mexico

  26. Bolitoglossa biseriata, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  27. Ixalotriton niger, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1,

  28. Thorius maxillabrochus, unknown, Manually created from type location following https://amphibiansoftheworld.amnh.org/

  29. Aneides flavipunctatus, unknown, manually altered from IUCN A. flavipunctatus range following Reilly and Wake https://peerj.com/articles/7370/

  30. Desmognathus fuscus, Draft IUCN/SSC,

  31. Bolitoglossa anthracina, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  32. Oedipina quadra, Draft IUCN/SSC,

  33. Nototriton brodiei, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  34. Oedipina pseudouniformis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  35. Hynobius chinensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  36. Hynobius yiwuensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  37. Paramesotriton hongkongensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  38. Bolitoglossa lozanoi, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  39. Eurycea quadridigitata, unknown,

  40. Paramesotriton caudopunctatus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  41. Paramesotriton deloustali, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  42. Bolitoglossa veracrucis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  43. Bradytriton silus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  44. Salamandra salamandra, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  45. Tylototriton wenxianensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  46. Tylototriton shanjing, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  47. Tylototriton taliangensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  48. Pseudohynobius flavomaculatus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  49. Pseudohynobius shuichengensis, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  50. Ambystoma mavortium, Draft IUCN/SSC,

  51. Ambystoma tigrinum, Draft IUCN/SSC,

  52. Oedipina cyclocauda, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  53. Pseudoeurycea melanomolga, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  54. Aneides ferreus, unknown, manually modified from IUCN range to account for A. vagrans split

  55. Isthmura maxima, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  56. Isthmura naucampatepetl, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2,

  57. Lissotriton vulgaris, unknown,

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Hi - have ways of using observations to refine the maps been discussed? Perhaps it’s too risky unless you know the species well. E.g. looking at Lissotriton vulgaris, there are a few iNaturalist observations outside the range. But switching on GBIF observations shows quite a few more, well outside the range (see map). The species is blessed with a detailed wiki page, which explains that there are a number of closely related and similar looking species, and discusses the distribution. Perhaps this explains the wider range apparent from GBIF records.

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I think using iNat obs or GBIF obs is risky unless you know the species.

The issue with L. vulgaris is that the IUCN map contains also contains Lissotriton graecus, Lissotriton kosswigi, Lissotriton lantzi, and Lissotriton schmidtleri so these need to be carved off to align with iNat’s taxonomy.
It looks like the iNat map has some of this carved off (e.g. Lissotriton lantzi from the Caucus) but not others (e.g. Lissotriton graecus from Greece). So the iNat map needs updating, but shouldn’t be replaced with the IUCN map.
vuldis

Looking over these 60 maps, to me it looks like the maps that are not safe to update are:
Aneides flavipunctatus
Plethodon glutinosus
Desmognathus auriculatus
Desmognathus fuscus
Eurycea quadridigitata
Ambystoma mavortium
Aneides ferreus
Lissotriton vulgaris

Does that seem right to others?

3 Likes

I just carved the IUCN range for Lissotriton vulgaris into ranges that match iNat’s Lissotriton vulgaris, Lissotriton graecus, Lissotriton kosswigi, Lissotriton lantzi, and Lissotriton schmidtleri so now Lissotriton vulgaris is a clear ‘Not safe to upstate’

2 Likes

Is there an easy way to obtain a list of taxa that already have ranges defined?

On what platform? iNat or IUCN?

Not that I have an answer, just wanting to clarify a potentially ambiguous question.

You can download many of the IUCN range maps, but every once in a while you run into odd blocks in doing so, where certain categories are restricted or for some reason it only allows you to download on species instead of the entire set.

Actually I meant on iNat but it’s good to know it’s possible on IUCN too.

… Hmmm, not very good on Cactaceae are they …

Maybe intentionally so?

See sensitive species guidelines in the mapping standards: https://www.iucnredlist.org/resources/mappingstandards

"A taxon’s map (or part of a map) will not be shown or made publicly available when the data_sens field contains a 1 (this means that the specific taxon polygon or point is marked as being sensitive). Information on why this polygon or point is sensitive should be recorded in the sens_comm attribute (see Tables 1 and 2). A generalised polygon may be used instead, or may be supplied alongside a non-generalised map marked as sensitive. This will enable the sensitive species’ generalised location to be shown and made publicly available without disclosing the species’ precise location. "

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Which I was posting just to answer this question - but @loarie there are obvious implications for how range maps for these sensitive species are handled, both in terms of IUCN import and for species where observations are obscured because iNat has decided that sharing location is risky. Most relevant for well-defined, narrow ranges.

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Okay, so I’ve found a range map on IUCN for a species I curate and would like to use it on iNaturalist. Looks like I have to go through a series of validation and authorisation hoops before I can download the data (even though I made the assessment and the range was created from my observations). Is there a way around this from within iNaturalist?
Once my request has been authorised and I’ve downloaded the data I assume I have to convert the range from shapefile format into a kml file (not difficult, but shouldn’t be necessary) before I can upload it via the New Taxon Range form. Have I understood the process correctly?
Perhaps the Url box on the form allows automatic import, conversion and range creation but that’s not clear form the form.

No, not when updating individual ranges. The bulk uploader is a staff/loarie only tool.

Yes, there is a link to a tutorial for converting and editing ranges using QGIS in the curator guide

Thanks for helping us think through how to update IUCN Red List ranges with this salamander example. We deployed some changes to Taxon Ranges today to help facilitate this process. In short they are:

  • Ensured no more than one taxon_range per taxon

  • Created a taxon_range show page and linked to it from the taxon range in the map legend

  • Added user_id, updated_at, and updater_id to taxon_range

  • Added “relation to IUCN”: in IUCN / alternative because IUCN unsuitable / Not in IUCN

  • Add ability to remove geometry from taxon range record from taxon_range/edit

  • New about taxon range page https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/taxon_ranges

With these changes in place, we’ve now piloted updating Salamanders and it went well.

Using the manual review above, we marked any narrowed species (e.g. Lissotriton vulgaris) as “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable” (IUCN range unsuitable) - e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_ranges/44836. And any carved off species (e.g. Lissotriton graecus) as “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because this taxon is not on the IUCN Red List” - e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxon_ranges/44837. We then updated all matching taxon ranges with the most recent IUCN versions other than these “IUCN range unsuitable” ones. In the end, we have about 661 species with updated IUCN ranges, ~16 with alternative ranges because the IUCN ones are “unsuitable” (mostly too broad), and 43 ranges that are not in IUCN - either carved off or manually created. Lastly there are about 41 salamander species with no range.

To maintain these and enable future updates all we need to do is make sure when we manually update a range we select something other than “This is an IUCN Red List range map”, e.g. “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable” or “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because this taxon is not on the IUCN Red List” depending on whether the taxon is on the IUCN Red List at the time of your update.

Also please continue to keep your eye out for IUCN ranges that don’t match the iNat taxonomy. For example, I just noticed that the IUCN range for Salamandrella keyserlingii includes what we’ve carved off as Salamandrella tridactyla. If you notice these please flag the taxa. Or if you want to go further - fix them. In this case that would involve replacing the Salamandrella keyserlingii with a narrowed map and selecting “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable” (to signal for iNat not to automatically update this range) and then uploading the carved off piece as a “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable” taxon range for Salamandrella tridactyla.

While this process was relatively easy for Salamanders, it will be much more time consuming for larger groups. I’d like to move onto the rest of amphibians now and then reptiles - and then think about the whole Red List. The main labor intensive work ahead of the update, like we did for salamanders, is to mark ranges that have been manually narrowed or otherwise ‘fxed’ by curators as “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable”. This is the signal that the automatic update uses to not squash these curator edits. If you see any ranges like this please edit the taxon range and mark this “Is this an IUCN Red List range map, and if not why?” field accordingly. I can post more maps like I did for salamanders if it would help, but there will be about 10 times as many suspicious ones to investigate for the rest of amphibians as there were for salamanders so any volunteer help reviewing them would be much appreciated.

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All amphibian maps are now updated. Of the 8,366 amphibian species on iNat, now:
1,283 have no range
6,907 have the IUCN v2021-2 range
68 have an alternative to the IUCN v2021-2 range because of some issue (e.g. split on iNat)
108 are not in IUCN but have a range from some other source (e.g. carved off from an IUCN range or hand drawn)

For this initial update, the due diligence to avoid squashing these 68 alternatives is time consuming and maybe not worth it. But moving forward, future updates should be easier as long as people properly annotate their edits to taxon ranges. In summary you should:

  1. click “this is an IUCN range map” if you’re uploading an IUCN range map
  2. click “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable” if you’re uploading an alternative map for a species where an IUCN assessment exists (e.g. maybe you manually narrowed it due to a split)
  3. click “This is not an IUCN Red List range map because this taxon is not on the IUCN Red List” if your uploading a map for a species with no Red List assessment, e.g. one from another source, one you hand drew or otherwise mashed up from the published IUCN map (e.g. maybe you carved it off as the result of a split).

I’d like to update reptiles next, again the time consuming part is checking to make sure we don’t squash manual edits. I’m town about whether we should do this labor intensive prep work which really slows things down or just update everything and not worry about squashing existing manual edits and just start avoiding them moving forward with this new system of explicitly labeling “Is this an IUCN Red List range map, and if not why?”

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