The Scarlet-breasted Dacnis is considered Vulnerable globally by most researchers and by most criteria, likely not higher due to it having occasionally been reported from secondary forests (Collar et al. 1994, Granizo et al. 2002, Múnera 2014, BirdLife International 2017). It does not satisfy all criteria to be listed as Endangered in Colombia, despite only a single 1991 report in the country since before 1980, and is officially listed as Vulnerable (Stattersfield and Capper 2000, eBird 2012, Múnera 2014); it received this designation due to having a restricted range, a severely fragmented habitat, and a low number of mature individuals (Múnera 2014). Parker et al. (1996) considered this species of "medium" conservation priority relative to other Neotropical birds, whereas other researchers have assigned a "high" conservation priority (Freile and Rodas 2008).
Effects of human activity on populations
The Scarlet-breasted Dacnis has seen declines in both population and range due to human-caused habitat destruction and modification (Collar et al. 1997, BirdLife International 2017). There has been severe fragmentation of the remaining habitat, and the sources of this fragmentation includes the building of new roads and subsequent development, intensive logging often coupled with conversion to oil palm plantations, cattle ranching and silvoculture, and the production of illicit crops (Vogt and Ahlman 2006, Múnera 2014). Parker et al. (1996) considered the Scarlet-breasted Dacnis to have a "Medium" degree of sensitivity to human disturbance relative to other Neotropical birds. Accelerating deforestation has reduced primary forest within the range of this species by 38% over the last decade, with an estimated population decline of 30% over that same period (BirdLife International 2017). In Colombia, an estimated 27.5% of the potential habitat for this species had already been lost, with a further 7.16% loss projected from 2000-2010 (Múnera 2014). New mining concessions within the habitat of this species presents further potential threats (Vogt and Ahlman 2006).
Conservation efforts have highlighted the importance this beautiful species of tanager could have on local economies via ecotourism (Erazo Álvarez 2014). Specific conservation efforts and goals have been developed for Ecuador with the Plan de Manejo Foresta Comunitaria Playa de Oro (Jahn 2003). This species is known (currently and/or historically) from the following protected areas: Colombia: Río Ñambi Community Nature Reserve (Vogt and Ahlman 2006), El Pangán Nature Reserve (BirdLife International 2017); Ecuador: Awá Forest Reserve Zone, Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve, Jatun Sacha Bisca Biological Station, and Río Palenque Scientific Center (Vogt and Ahlman 2006); Playa de Oro Reserva de Los Tigres, Reserva Río Canande, Reserva Mangaloma, and Río Silanche Bird Sanctuary (eBird 2012); Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve (Sarmiento et al. 2008); Biological Corridor Awacachi, and Gran Reserva Cachi (Hilty 2011).