The Alliance’s ecosystem conservation goal is to protect and restore species, habitats, and natural functions based on ecosystem-scale conservation priorities. An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and micro-communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. Ecosystem conservation is the systematic, holistic protection or restoration of interrelated natural processes, functions, structures, and biodiversity within large-scale natural systems to maintain viable levels indefinitely. Conservation priorities are determined at the landscape scale and are addressed locally or regionally.
Alliance Framework for Ecosystem Conservation
In Fall 2009, the Alliance developed an ecosystem conservation framework to focus our work on the highest conservation priorities in the Pacific Northwest. The framework looks to existing conservation plans (including state wildlife action plans and The Nature Conservancy’s ecoregional plans) to identify high priority (at risk) species, habitats, and locations. The framework establishes a common understanding of ecosystem conservation concepts, priorities, and tools among Alliance members and provides a shared ecoregional context.
The Alliance ecosystem conservation “portfolio” includes projects implemented by one or more Alliance member, such as recovery of at-risk species and restoration of at-risk habitats. The framework places diverse projects into an ecosystem conservation context, allowing the Alliance to strengthen relationships with key conservation partners, market its skills and resources, and provide greater conservation benefits.
Helping At-Risk Species Through Captive Breeding, Research and Restoration
Alliance zoos and aquariums are collaborating to increase our effectiveness in recovering at-risk species native to the Pacific Northwest. Each project involves captive breeding/rearing, research, disaster planning, and/or habitat restoration. Each project also involves key public, private, and community partners.
With the Alliance’s new focus on ecosystem conservation, we are working toward integrating species recovery projects with the broader Pacific Northwest conservation context. We are looking for opportunities to provide benefits to other at-risk species and habitats, provide habitat connectivity, and enhance natural functions as components of species recovery projects.
Read more about the Alliance’s species recovery projects, including:
- Oregon Silverspot Butterflies
- Oregon Spotted Frogs
- Sea Otters
- Sixgill Sharks
- Pygmy Rabbits
- Western Pond Turtles
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