© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

The Nature Conservancy Ecoregional Priorities in Virginia

The Nature Conservancy and other partners have developed Ecoregional Assessments for each of Virginia’s five ecoregions.

Ecoregional assessments provide a regional scale, biodiversity-based context for implementing conservation efforts. They identify ecologically significant areas for conservation action with a goal of protecting representative biodiversity. These actions may be any of a range of strategies, including: incentives for private landowners; acknowledging and encouraging best management practices on working landscapes; restoring degraded ecosystems, and putting land in conservation easements. They are the result of rigorous scientific analyses, incorporating an extensive expert review, and are the most comprehensive and current efforts to set conservation priorities at a regional scale.

These assessments have each resulted in a series of products useful to those working to conserve biodiversity. These products can be used alone, in conjunction with one another, or with other information to enhance real-world conservation and communication about biodiversity values in the region. The main products developed are:

  • A portfolio of priority conservation areas, highlighting the most important and suitable areas for conservation of ecoregional biodiversity. Each portfolio is comprised of terrestrial and freshwater priorities, as well as marine priorities for coastal ecoregions.
  • Maps of relative conservation value of all lands and waters in each ecoregion.
  • A compilation of the comprehensive biodiversity information and data that were used to develop the assessment.
  • A thorough documentation of the assessment process, portfolio identification and site prioritization methods, and data management, so that future iterations of the assessments can build upon previous work

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