© Mike Norton (Colorado)

The Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Priorities in Colorado

By assessing relatively large geographic areas delineated by consistent climate, vegetation, geology and other ecological and environmental patterns, The Nature Conservancy's ecoregional planning process provides a regional-scale, biodiversity-based context for implementing on-the-ground conservation action. 

Each ecoregional assessment includes a map of conservation areas ("portfolios") that represent the full distribution and diversity of native species, natural communities, and ecosystems both within and across the ecoregion boundary.  Compatible management within these conservation areas should ensure the long-term survival of all native life and natural communities, not just threatened species and communities.  

Designing ecoregion-based portfolios is a complex, iterative process based on five steps:

  • Identifying the species, communities and ecosystems in an ecoregion;
  • Setting specific goals for the number and distribution of these conservation targets to be captured in the portfolio;
  • Assembling information and relevant data on the location and quality of conservation targets;
  • Designing a network of conservation areas that most effectively meets the goals; and
  • Identifying the highest priority conservation areas, wide-ranging targets and pervasive threats for conservation action.

By highlighting areas that the Conservancy believes are both most important and most suitable for the conservation of ecoregional biodiversity, these ecoregional assessments and conservation areas guide on-the-ground actions by the Conservancy and its public and private partners. Each portfolio includes terrestrial and freshwater priorities.

Learn more about The Nature Conservancy's process of setting conservation priorities.

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