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Crisis Ecoregions

Large-scale ecoregions of the world that are considered at risk

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Source: Brooks, T. M., Mittermeier, R. A. , da Fonseca, G. A. B., Gerlach, J., Hoffmann, M., Lamoreux, J. F., Mittermeier, C. G., Pilgrim, J. D. and Rodrigues, A. S. L. (2006) Global Biodiversity Conservation Priorities. Science 313 (5783), 58.

Description

Crisis ecoregions are places where extensive habitat conversion and limited habitat protection suggest that substantial, irreversible and irreplaceable losses of significant biodiversity and ecological function are likely without successful conservation intervention.

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Supported by

Not applicable

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Year of creation

2000

Coverage

Global in extent, with 305 sites world wide.1

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Criteria

To identify Crisis Ecoregions, a Conservation Risk Index (CRI) in every ecoregion was calculated. This is the conversion to protection ratio, i.e. how much habitat has been lost in relation to how much land is protected through the global network of protected areas. This method categorized 305 ecoregions as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered based on the following conversion and CRI thresholds:1

  • Vulnerable: Ecoregions in which habitat conversion > 20% and CRI > 2
  • Endangered: Ecoregions in which conversion > 40% and CRI > 10
  • Critically Endangered: Ecoregions with conversion > 50% and CRI > 25
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Management:

There is no specific management prescribed for Crisis Ecoregions. Crisis Ecoregions are those places where significant habitat loss has occurred and levels of protection are low, leaving biodiversity and ecological function at risk and suggesting urgent need of management intervention.

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Business relevance:

Legal and compliance – There are no legal requirements for an area to be identified as a Crisis Ecoregion. Legal protection of Crisis Ecoregions is also not feasible as they are too large to protect in their entirety and national government are not involved in their identification. Crisis Ecoregions, however, can contain other areas of biodiversity importance to which legal protection or safeguard standards may apply.

Biodiversity – Crisis Ecoregions are areas of high biodiversity importance, which need protection due to the high vulnerability of habitat within these large geographic regions. As a regional-scale approach, they are of limited use for site-scale assessment and decision making. As these areas include both sites of high biodiversity importance as well as degraded land and urban areas, more detailed assessments are needed to locate the actual distribution of biodiversity within them.

Socio-cultural – The criteria for identification of Crisis Ecoregions do not explicitly mention recognition of socio-cultural aspects. However, as these are large areas where human activity is present, local people may be involved in use, protection and management of at least some parts of these areas.

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Tools:

Not applicable

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References/Websites:

  1. Hoekstra, J. M., Boucher, T. M., Ricketts, T. H. and Roberts, C. (2005). Confronting a Biome Crisis: Global Disparities of Habitat Loss and Protection. Ecology Letters 8: 23–29.
  2. Brooks, T. M., Mittermeier, R. A. , da Fonseca, G. A. B., Gerlach, J., Hoffmann, M., Lamoreux, J. F., Mittermeier, C. G., Pilgrim, J. D. and Rodrigues, A. S. L. (2006) Global Biodiversity Conservation Priorities. Science 313 (5783), 58.
  3. Olson, D.M., Dinerstein, E., Wikramanayake, E.D., Burgess, N.D., Powell, G.V.N., Underwood, E.C. et al. (2001). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: a New Map of Life on Earth. BioScience, 51: 933-938
  4. Hoekstra, J. M., Boucher, T. M., Ricketts, T. H. and Roberts, C. (2004). Are We Losing Ground? Conservation in Practice 5:28-29
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