Conservation Focus

Freshwater Species

Roles and Threats

Freshwater ecosystems – our streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, springs and wetlands – cover less than 1% of our planet’s surface but support more than 10% of all known species, from fungi and plants, to invertebrates, fish and even terrestrial animals. Crucially, freshwater systems are also vitally important to us humans, for our livelihoods, food production, economy and health.

Freshwater systems are under immense pressure from a multitude of threats, from pollution to damming, and water abstraction to overharvesting of freshwater species. Climate change will only exacerbate these pressures. Many freshwater species are under acute threat: best data indicates severe population declines in monitored freshwater populations, more severe than those in marine and terrestrial systems, and more than 20% of the world’s assessed freshwater species are threatened with extinction.

Monika Böhm, Ph.D.

Freshwater Conservation Coordinator

With more than a decade’s experience supporting freshwater IUCN assessments, Dr. Monika Böhm brings vast knowledge on the diverse conservation issues affecting aquatic species. She has published papers on topics including climate change vulnerability and extinction threat and is a certified Red List trainer, involved in workshops around the world. She has been both a postdoctoral research assistant and research fellow at the Zoological Society of London and is a member of numerous IUCN SSC Specialist Groups.