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Conservation Rank Calculator

The Conservation Rank Calculator is a tool that automates the process of assigning a conservation status rank—an evaluation of the level of risk of extinction of species and elimination or collapse of ecosystems. It is used extensively by NatureServe and its member programs and collaborators that collect and evaluate data for species and ecosystems of concern using a common methodology. The Rank Calculator tool facilitates the accurate application of this methodology and promotes greater accuracy and consistency of the assessments. It is programmed in Microsoft Excel.

Note: As of January 2019, Biotics 5 can calculate conservation status rank using the same methodology as the Excel tool.

Download version 3.1932

Updated January 10, 2020. See "Version History" for the details of our latest updates.


Assessing the conservation status—or extinction risk of species and elimination risk of ecosystems—requires detailed knowledge of the distribution, population size and trends, and critical threats (e.g., habitat loss or fragmentation). The Conservation Rank Calculator enables conservation biologists within the NatureServe network and others to translate their knowledge of specific species and ecosystems into a three categories of information (rarity, threats and trends). The tool is then able to use this data to “calculate” an overall conservation status rank by automatically applying the specific rules described in the methodology.

Features & Benefits

The Conservation Rank Calculator is a tool that facilitates the accurate application of NatureServe’s Conservation Status Methodology. Use of the tool improves the reliability and transparency of the ranking process and results in more consistent assessments. NatureServe has worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to standardize the ratings for shared information fields. The standardized ratings permit sharing of data between organizations and countries and allow the information to be used in both IUCN and NatureServe assessments.

Features of the tool include:

  • Basic information on how to use the rank calculator and threats assessment worksheet
  • Summary of how the rules are applied to generate a calculated status rank
  • Summary of the individual status factors and rating values
  • A Calculator Form for entering status factor ratings for a single species or ecosystem at a time and generating a calculated rank
  • A Threat Assessment worksheet that is used to automatically calculate the rating for the Overall Threat Impact status factor based on scope and severity values entered for individual threats
  • Ability to store factor data and threats data for multiple species and ecosystems in tabular format; this tabular data may be transferred to the Calculator Form and Threats Assessment worksheet for better viewing and editing

Benefits include:

  • Programmed in Microsoft Excel
  • May be used to assess extinction risk of species and elimination risk of ecosystems at a global scale; it may also be used to assess regional extirpation (local extinction) risk of both species and ecosystems
  • Works in combination with NatureServe’s data management system (Biotics) - the Biotics system contains tables for storing the status factor information and assigned conservation status ranks for species and ecosystems at global, national and subnational scales
  • Users of NatureServe’s Biotics software may import both individual status factor and threat data from Biotics into the calculator for revision and validation

Version History

We expect to release a new online version sometime in the next year or two. Therefore, recent updates have consisted of minor changes to the Excel version available here.

  • v3.1932 (1/10/2020): Tweaks to Biotics 5 import tools: fixed invalid references in formulas and added a step to add missing Ranking records when importing Threats Assessment data
  • v3.193 (3/29/2019): Added tools for importing data into Biotics 5
  • v3.186 (3/30/2015): Fixed SQL for B5 Threats Assessment export (was exporting incorrect calculated threat impact) and added Import into Biotics notes.
  • v3.185 (1/13/2015): Fixed bug that was not clearing calculated threat from calculator form (introduced in v3.18) and fixed Copy from Tabular to Calculator Form button so that calculated threat is copied
  • v3.18 (12/30/2014): Fixed problem of saving calculated overall threat impact that was introduced in version 3.15 and renamed 2 buttons from "Copy" to "Save" since they automatically clear the form data
  • v3.17 (12/18/2014): Updated threats list to match the updated list released in Biotics 5.5.5 (slight changes to the text of four level-2 threats and addition of 6 new level-2 threats)
  • v3.16 (9/5/2014): Small fix to SQL for export from Biotics (“Export from Biotics5” sheet)
  • v3.15 (8/25/2014): A) Updated SQL for export from Biotics (“Export from Biotics5” sheet) due to data model changes made in the Biotics 5.5 release; B) Changed the "Copy" buttons on "Calculator Form" and "Threats Assessment" sheets so that the forms are cleared automatically after copying to the tabular layout; C) Added a new "Clear data from selected rows" button to the Calculator Table