Ecoregional assessments provide a regional scale, biodiversity-based context forimplementing conservation efforts. The intent of the assessments is to create a sharedvision for agencies and other organizations at the provincial or state, regional, and local levels to form partnerships and ensure efficient allocation of conservation resources. The assessments identify a portfolio of sites for conservation action with a goal of protecting representative biodiversity and ecologically significant populations. These assessments are the result of rigorous scientific analyses, which incorporate expert review, and are the most comprehensive and current efforts to set conservation priorities at an ecoregional scale. Biodiversity conservation in an ecoregion will attain its fullest potential if all conservation organizations coordinate their strategies to protect and restore biodiversity according to thepriorities identified in this process.
The Okanagan Ecoregional Assessment resulted in the selection of 430 conservationtargets, including 220 terrestrial species targets, 48 freshwater species targets, 66 rare plant community types and 96 system targets. These system targets are the major ecological systems that make up the terrestrial and freshwater environments.
This assessment resulted in a series of products that will be useful to those involved inbiodiversity conservation in the Okanagan Ecoregion. These products can be used alone, in conjunction with one another, or with other information to enhance communication abouton-the-ground conservation of biodiversity values in the ecoregion. The main products developed were:
- Terrestrial and freshwater ecological system classifications·
- Terrestrial and freshwater conservation portfolios showing the most important and suitable areas for conservation of ecoregional terrestrial and fresh water biodiversity, respectively. A summary of known target occurrences, land cover, land use, etc., is provided for each PCA along with an illustration of relative prioritybased on biodiversity value and suitability for conservation.
- Irreplaceability maps showing the relative conservation value of all places in the ecoregion·
- Utility maps showing the relative conservation value and suitability for conservation of all places in the ecoregion·
- Overlaid terrestrial and freshwater portfolios showing the area of overlap between the two portfolios·
- Three scenarios for biodiversity conservation representing different levels of risk