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&i;The library of life is burning, and we don't even know the titles of the books&o; - Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, to the opening of a session of one of the Trondheim Conferences on Biodiversity.
The &i;2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species&o; reveals a total of 15,589 species of plants and animals are facing extinction. One in three amphibians and almost half of all freshwater turtles are threatened, on top of the one in eight birds and one in four mammals known to be in jeopardy.
The &i;IUCN Red List of Threatened Species&o; is one attempt to increase the world's store of knowledge about our biological resources before they are lost. Providing information about the status of biodiversity is a critical first step in both highlighting the severity of the problem and encouraging societies to begin to assume accountability for their actions, so that we can maintain at least current levels of biodiversity.
As well as classifying species according to their extinction risk, the Red List provides information on species range, population trends, main habitats, major threats and conservation measures, both already in place, and those needed. It allows better insight than ever before into the processes driving extinction.
See BBC news covergae at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4013719.stm
IUCN Redlist Homepage http://www.redlist.org/