News Flash: The LUDS Tool

Land Use Decision Support: Species of Conservation Concern Tool

The Land Use Decision Support: Species Conservation Concern (LUDS SCC) Tool is a comprehensive online biodiveristy informatics platform created by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and hosted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). It is set to be launched in April 2023 and will provide spatial data on threatened terrestrial biodiversity that is readily accessible to all members of society. The tool contains distribution data on species of conservation concern of both plants and animals1. The animal taxa currently included in the tool are amphibians, birds, butterflies, freshwater fish, mammals, reptiles, spiders, and other invertebrates (including a combination of grasshoppers, beetles, and millipedes).

The tool defines species of conservation concern as species listed as either Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened according to the latest IUCN Red List Assessments. Furthermore, the tool includes plant and invertebrate species assessed as Critically Rare and Rare by peer-reviewed national assessments.

The purpose of the tool is to allow any member of society access to objective and data-driven distribution information. In addition to assessing a species distribution at a national scale, users can create their own area of interest and generate a list of all threatened species of conservation concern contained within it. This should lead to more informed land use decision making and increased transparency during the Environmental Impact Assessment process, ultimately leading to more sustainable development. The launch of the tool will be accompanied by the publication of training materials housed on the EWT website

1 Species listed as vulnerable or potentially vulnerable to collecting, over-exploitation, commercial and/or medicinal use are not included in the tool to protect their locations.


Dr Oliver Cowan

Conservation & Data Scientist: Conservation Planning and Science Unit

Endangered Wildlife Trust

27 and 28 Austin Road, Glen Austin AH, Midrand, Gauteng

+27 11 372 3600