Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network and Nature Conservancy Debut New Online Ecosystem Assessment Tool

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) recently launched the Ecosystem Analysis and Reporting (EAR) tool to visualize ecosystem status and threats in the Americas. The tool is available in both browser-based and ARC desktop-based formats (with English and Spanish user manuals).    The design and development of the tool was executed by TNC’s Caribbean Science Program, working closely with the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of Southern Mississippi.

This tool builds on the information made available through IABIN’s Ecosystems and Protected Areas Thematic Networks by providing conservation decision makers with products for assessing the extent of ecosystems under effective conservation, and offering direction on where to work and what actions may be needed to improve biodiversity conservation.

The tool currently includes data from two pilot regions: the Mesoamerican Reef (in Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula) and the Northern Andes of Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. TNC led a presentation and workshop utilizing the tool at the Society for Conservation GIS meeting in Monterey, CA, in July and will also present the tool at upcoming IABIN meetings.

This tool is the first in a series of five planned “value-added products for decision makers” that IABIN is developing with funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Future tools will integrate additional types of data IABIN has digitized and made available through its GEF project and related activities. The tools will make this data available in more user-friendly and interactive formats, and will also allow select conservation-focused analyses to be performed utilizing this data. For further information, please contact Ben Wheeler at .

Photo: Tripod Fire, Washington State. Photograph by Philip Higuera, National Parks Ecological Research.)


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