The GIS Challenges of Ecoregional Conservation Planning

  • Gillian Woolmer


The tools of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are well suited to the application of conservation planning, a pursuit that requires the overlay and analysis of often large volumes of geographic information, including the locations and distribution of multiple conservation targets and threats. During any conservation planning process, challenges related to the use of GIS can be expected, particularly for large planning areas that span multiple administrative jurisdictions. Challenges likely to be encountered relate to (1) the complex nature of spatial data, including data sources, access, licensing, quality, and compatibility, (2) the need to develop adequate capacity for GIS for the duration of the planning process, and (3) making spatial information generated by the GIS based planning process available to partners and stakeholders. By understanding the nature of the GIS challenges to be expected, conservation managers and GIS professionals can plan for the resources necessary to successfully achieve the goals of the planning process. In this chapter, I share the GIS experiences, challenges, and lessons learned from a multi-year, multiple-partner conservation planning effort for the transboundary Northern Appalachian/Acadian Ecoregion of North America.


Geographic Information Systems GIS Mapping Spatial analysis Spatial data 



I want to recognize the GIS efforts of Greg Kehm and GIS colleagues at The Nature Conservancy and Nature Conservancy Canada who created a number of the transboundary datasets in the Northern Appalachian/Acadian ecoregion. I would like acknowledge Patrick Doran and Charlie Bettigole for their GIS contributions to their Northern Appalachian conservation vision, and Justina Ray, Steve Trombulak, and Rob Baldwin for their support and guidance over the years I have worked on conservation in the 2C1Forest region.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WCS CanadaTorontoCanada

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