IUCN Dark Skies Advisory Group

This group has its own website:

Dark Skies Advisory Group website


The Dark Skies Advisory Group is part of the IUCN WCPA Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group. It works to advance understanding of the importance of natural darkness and means of addressing impacts of artificial light. It maintains the World List of Dark Sky Places, which focuses on protected areas, and is in the process of producing a volume in the IUCN WCPA Best Protected Area Guidelines Series. 


A night sky without artificial light is an imperative for the proper functioning of natural landscapes and our enjoyment of them, as creatures and ecosystems function both day and night. 

Artificial lighting is known to affect species migration patterns, predator-prey relationships, and the circadian rhythms of many organisms. However, compared to climate change, invasive species, poaching, and habitat destruction, natural darkness and artificial light are often overlooked in discussions about protecting biodiversity and promoting appreciation of the natural world.

There are at least nine reasons for reducing light pollution and protecting the natural night sky:

• Ecological integrity of natural environments;

• Full enjoyment of a natural outdoor experience;

• Appreciation of the integrity, character, and beauty of urban and rural landscapes;

• Commemorative integrity, i.e., authenticity of experiences at cultural sites; 

• Preservation of cultural traditions relating to the night sky;

• Protection of human health, both medical and psychological;

• Contributing to energy efficiency and energy conservation;

• Astronomy, respecting both scientific and amateur observation opportunities; and

• Security, through proper non-glare lighting in urban areas.

These aspects of light pollution abatement go beyond protected areas and sites and involve environmental design and land-use policies and regulation. 

There are still many places in the world that have night skies free of light pollution, particularly in remote drier and more elevated areas, and these dark skies should be protected as much as possible. The greater challenge lies in reducing light pollution in and near urbanized areas -- and in adding night-sky appreciation to the array of experiences available to visitors to protected areas.

In 2012, IUCN adopted a Recommendation, Dark skies and nature conservation, that originated in the advisory group.  

Contact: David Welch, Chair, Dark Skies Advisory Group (DSAG), Ottawa, Canada, dsag.iucn [dot] gmail [dot] com


U.S. National Park Service - Night Skies

Fundación Starlight

International Dark Sky Association

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Light Pollution Abatement Programme

Light Pollution Map (global and interactive) See Credits



IUCN Natural Sounds Advisory Group

This group is in organization. For information, contact the Interim Chair, Jim Barborak, Co-Director, Center for Protected Area Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, US, jim.barborak [at] colostate [dot] edu


U.S. National Park Service - Natural Sounds