Ecosystem Assessment and Reporting Tool
Demonstration of Ecosystem Assessment and Reporting Tool by Steve Schill of The Nature Conservancy (January 27, 2011). The Ecosystem Assessment and Reporting (EAR) tool is a decision-support tool that synthesizes biodiversity, socioeconomic and protected area datasets and provides reports and maps for prioritizing conservation action on the ground. The EAR tool has been designed around The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) approach for calculating “Effective Conservation” (Higgins et al, 2007). This approach is a way of measuring progress towards achieving established conservation goals for ecosystems. An ecosystem achieves effective conservation when the biodiversity of an ecosystem is expected to persist as a result of conservation actions. The framework for calculating the level of effective conservation uses three measures in combination: 1) Viability Status - the biological potential for a given ecosystem to persist (e.g. ecosystem size, condition, and landscape context); 2) Threats Status - the degree of anticipated negative impact (i.e. socio-economic activity) to a given ecosystem (e.g. severity, scope of threat); and 3) Conservation Management Status - the likelihood that management activities will secure biodiversity and allow it to persist within a protected area (e.g. intent, tenure, and effective management potential). While methods may vary on how to calculate an ecosystem’s viability, threat status, and management needs, the design of the EAR tool provides a common framework for conservation decision makers to obtain direction on where to implement critical management actions. The tool is available in both Internet-based Server and ArcGIS 9.3 ArcToolbox Desktop versions. Learn more about the tool at www.eartool.org.