A  web·guide to sustainable development, conservation & the glocal environment



1. Residential & Commercial Development

     1.1 Housing & Urban Areas

          suburbs, villages, vacation homes, shopping areas, offices, schools, hospitals

     1.2 Commercial & Industrial Areas

          manufacturing plants

          shopping centers

          office parks, military bases, power plants, train & ship yards, airports

     1.3 Tourism & Recreation Areas

          ski areas, golf courses, beach resorts, cricket fields, county parks, campgrounds

2. Agriculture & Aquaculture

     2.1 Annual & Perennial Non-Timber Crops

          farms, household swidden plots, plantations, orchards, vineyards, mixed agroforestry systems

     2.2 Wood & Pulp Plantations

          teak or eucalyptus plantations, silviculture, christmas tree farms

     2.3 Livestock Farming & Ranching

          cattle feed lots, dairy farms, cattle ranching, chicken farms, goat, camel, or yak herding

     2.4 Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture

          shrimp or fin fish aquaculture, fish ponds on farms, hatchery salmon, seeded shellfish beds, artificial algal beds

3. Energy Production & Mining

     3.1 Oil & Gas Drilling

          oil wells, deep sea natural gas drilling

     3.2 Mining & Quarrying

          coal mines, alluvial gold panning, gold mines, rock quarries, coral mining, deep sea nodules, guano harvesting

     3.3 Renewable Energy

          geothermal power production, solar farms, wind farms (including birds or bats flying into windmills), tidal farms

4. Transportation & Service Corridors

     4.1 Roads & Railroads

          highways, secondary roads, logging roads, bridges & causeways, road kill, fencing associated with roads, railroads

     4.2 Utility & Service Lines

          electrical & phone wires, aqueducts, oil & gas pipelines, electrocution of wildlife

     4.3 Shipping Lanes

          dredging, canals, shipping lanes, ships running into whales, wakes from cargo ships

     4.4 Flight Paths

          flight paths, jets impacting birds

5. Biological Resource Use

     5.1 Hunting & Collecting Terrestrial Animals

          bushmeat hunting

          trophy hunting, fur trapping, insect collecting, honey or bird nest hunting, predator control, pest control, persecution

     5.2 Gathering Terrestrial Plants

          wild mushrooms, forage for stall fed animals, orchids, rattan, control of host plants to combat timber diseases

     5.3 Logging & Wood Harvesting

          clear cutting of hardwoods

          selective commercial logging of ironwood, pulp operations, fuel wood collection, charcoal production

     5.4 Fishing & Harvesting Aquatic Resources


          blast fishing, spear fishing

          hellfish harvesting, whaling, seal hunting, turtle egg collection, live coral collection, seaweed collection

6. Human Intrusions & Disturbance

     6.1 Recreational Activities

          off-road vehicles

          motorboats, jet-skis, snowmobiles, ultralight planes, dive boats, whale watching, mountain bikes, hikers, birdwatchers,

                    skiers, pets in recreational areas, temporary campsites, caving, rock-climbing

     6.2 War, Civil Unrest & Military Exercises

          armed conflict, mine fields, tanks & other military vehicles, training exercises & ranges, defoliation, munitions testing

     6.3 Work & Other Activities

          law enforcement, drug smugglers, illegal immigrants, species research, vandalism

7. Natural System Modifications

     7.1 Fire & Fire Suppression

          fire suppression to protect homes

          inappropriate fire management, escaped agricultural fires, arson, campfires, fires for hunting

     7.2 Dams & Water Management / Use

          dam construction

          dam operations, sediment control, change in salt regime, wetland filling for mosquito control, levees and dikes, surface

               water diversion, groundwater pumping, channelization, artificial lakes

     7.3 Other Ecosystem Modifications

          land reclamation projects

          rip-rap along shoreline, mowing grass, tree thinning in parks, beach construction, removal of snags from streams

     7.4 Removing / Reducing Human Maintenance

          lack of mowing of meadows

          reduction in controlled burns

          lack of indigenous management of key ecosystems, ceasing supplimental feeding of condors  

8. Invasive & Problematic Species, Pathogens & Genes

     8.1 Invasive Non-Native / Alien Plants & Animals

          feral horses, feral household pets, zebra mussels, Miconia tree, introduction of species for biocontrol

     8.2 Problematic Native Plants & Animals

          overabundant native deer, overabundant algae due to loss of native grazing fish, plague affecting rodents, invasive grasses

     8.3 Introduced Genetic Material

          pesticide resistant crops

          hatchery salmon, restoration projects using non-local seed stock, genetically modified insects for biocontrol,

               genetically modified trees, genetically modified salmon

     8.4 Pathogens & Microbes

          plague affecting rodents, Dutch elm disease or chestnut blight, Chytrid fungus affecting amphibians outside of Africa

9. Pollution

     9.1 Household Sewage & Urban Waste Water

          discharge from municipal waste treatment plants

          leaking septic systems, untreated sewage, outhouses, oil or sediment from roads, fertilizers

                and pesticides from lawns and golf-courses, road salt

     9.2 Industrial & Military Effluents

          toxic chemicals from factories,

          illegal dumping of chemicals, mine tailings, arsenic from gold mining, leakage from fuel tanks, PCBs in river


     9.3 Agricultural & Forestry Effluents

          nutrient loading from fertilizer run-off, herbicide run-off, manure from feedlots, nutrients from aquaculture, soil erosion

     9.4 Garbage & Solid Waste

          municipal waste

          litter from cars, flotsam & jetsam from recreational boats, waste that entangles wildlife, construction debris

     9.5 Air-Borne Pollutants

          acid rain, smog from vehicle emissions

          excess nitrogen deposition, radioactive fallout, wind dispersion of pollutants or sediments from farm fields, smoke

                 from forest fires or wood stoves

     9.6 Excess Energy

          noise from highways or airplanes

          sonar from submarines that disturbs whales, heated water from power plants, lamps attracting insects, beach lights

                 disorienting turtles, atmospheric radiation from ozone holes

10. Geological Events

     10.1 Volcanoes

          eruptions, emissions of volcanic gasses

     10.2 Earthquakes / Tsunamis

          earthquakes, tsunamis

     10.3 Avalanches / Landslides

          avalanches, landslides, mudslides


11. Climate Change

         11.1 Ecosystem Encroachment

          sea level rise (inundation of shoreline ecosystems, drowning of coral reefs), desertification (sand dune encroachment)

     11.2 Changes in Geochemical Regimes

          ocean acidification

          changes in atmospheric CO2 affecting plant growth, loss of sediment leading to broad-scale subsidence

     11.3 Changes in Temperature Regimes

          heat waves, cold spells, oceanic temperature changes, melting of glaciers/sea ice

     11.4 Changes in Precipitation & Hydrological Regimes

          droughts, changes in timing of rains, loss of snowcover, increased severity of floods

     11.5 Severe / Extreme Weather Events


          tropical storms

          hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, hailstorms, ice storms or blizzards, dust storms, erosion of beaches during storms

Threat classification scheme

The Contents of this page largely consist of the IUCN‘s Threat Classification Scheme

     (TCS-v3.3) with some minor modifications.

       · The TCS stemmed from efforts by Conservation Standard (formerly the

          Conservation Measures Partnership on Direct Threat Classification).

       · Of numerous attempts to classify the myriad threats to biodiversity (some

          of them informal, e.g., HIPPO), the TCS is probably the most systematic.


     · Climate change biology

       · Wildlife poaching, trafficking & trade

         · Invasive species

           · Artificial light at night (ALAN)

Also see Environmental threats page