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Biodiversity Conservation

Regional Assessments are used to identify how to allocate effort in conservation and management. They provide a solid basis for decision support in Ecosystem-Based Management.

Assessing Regions and Identifying Priorities

The basic objective of a regional assessment is to characterize a region’s biodiversity as well as the current impacts, future risks (threats) and human uses that affect this diversity. These assessments identify gaps in biodiversity and natural resource conservation and management, and highlight efficient opportunities to fill those gaps. Regional assessments are designed as a transparent decision support system for marine managers and other decision makers.

This section of the toolkit provides a basic guide for managers in the use of regional assessments for biodiversity conservation. This is intended as general guidance for practitioners and planners; for a more in depth treatment of the regional planning process visit the Conservation Gateway. For more advanced practitioners, links to additional resources are provided. The Carolinian Marine Ecoregional Assessment (pdf, 21MB) is used as a case study to illustrate the approach.

In the case studies, this approach is extended to demonstrate how to account for multiple objectives such as fishery production and hazard reduction to further advance Ecosystem-Based Management.

The biodiversity assessment cycle. Click on image to enlarge. View slideshow of individual steps at left.