This work represents a joint effort between Round River Conservation Studies (RRCS), The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), The Nature Conservancy – Alaska (TNC), with assistance from the Coastal Information Team (CIT) Ecosystem Spatial Analysis Planning Team. This effort included a diverse group of researchers from non-governmental and government agencies and represents a collective of researchers and practitioners in the fields of conservation biology, ecology, zoology, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), and land-use planning.
We sought to develop science-based tools and to assemble regional data necessary to address these sorts of questions, through the development of a Conservation Area Design (CAD) for the region. Here we present regional spatial datasets that represent a full range of biodiversity values for the coastal temperate rainforest. We also present analyses results that identify high value, irreplaceable conservation areas and identify some of the last remaining, ecologically intact and relatively undisturbed watersheds in the region.
This report provides tools and data necessary for science based conservation planning and a framework of how priority areas can be systematically identified. The objective of this exercise is ultimately to serve four well-accepted goals of conservation: 1) represent ecosystems across their natural range of variation; 2) maintain viable populations of native species; 3) sustain ecological and evolutionary processes within an acceptable range of variability; and 4) build a conservation network that is resilient to environmental change. In pursuit of these goals, the Conservation Area Design for the CFM region incorporates three basic approaches to conservation planning:
· Representation of a broad spectrum of environmental variation (e.g., vegetation, terrestrial abiotic, and freshwater and marine habitat classes).
· Protection of special elements: concentrations of ecological communities; rare or at-risk ecological communities; rare physical habitats; concentrations of species; locations of at risk species; locations of highly valued species or their critical habitats; locations of major genetic variants.
· Conservation of critical habitats of focal species, whose needs help planners address issues of habitat area, configuration, and quality. These are species that (a) need large areas or several well connected areas, or (b) are sensitive to human disturbance, and (c) for which sound habitat-suability models are available or can be constructed.