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This groundbreaking exercise pioneered planning at the ecoregional level. The analyses were undertaken with the help of a wide range of biodiversity specialists and conservation planners from the Latin America and Caribbean Region, but nevertheless it lacks data-driven rigor.

WWF GLOBAL 200 (Olson and Dinerstein, 1997)

The Global 200 is an effective tool for targeting distinctive biogeographic units of biodiversity and providing a solid approach for promoting ecosystem-level representation at a global scale. The global 200 broadens the goals of conservation from a primary focus on preserving species diversity to an encompassing view of habitat diversity in terms of structure, composition and ecological processes. The Global 200 is a first step intended to provide a global context for the refinement and development of regional strategies, not replace them. It also does not try to identify particular sites within priority ecoregions for conservation action. (Olson et al., 1997) The Global 200 overlap partly or entirely in all 25 units of the hotspots analyses representing a total of 79 or 58.1 % of the 136 terrestrial ecoregions (Mittermeier et al. 1999).

The main critique to the Global 200 is that it lacks data-driven rigor (Mittermeier et. al., 1999). This is now being approached through the development of the “Extinction Prone Ecoregions” exercise that will supplement previous efforts.

Other problems found in using the Global 200 in Latin America and the Caribbean for comparative purposes were: that the Global 200 Ecoregions are actually aggregated ecoregions and that these ecoregions are not the same ones that were used as the geographic base for all other terrestrial exercises, these being a more refined version that evolved from Dinerstein et al., 1995. This situation results in the lumping together of ecoregions with different biological distinctiveness and conservation status within Major Habitat Types, that does not allow for a straightforward uniform geographic comparison. Finally even though the Global 200 Ecoregions are widely used, they are presently in a state of permanent flux and refinement.


This priority setting exercise deals only with the data rich ecoregions present in the United States and Canada, so its usefulness for Mexico is restricted to the Mexico - US shared crossborder ecoregions. This exercise represents an interesting contrast with The World Bank’s exercise that was carried out within the Neotropical Realm, results from the development of this exercise within the framework of the Neartic Realm which constitutes a more appropriate biogeographical comparison field for northern Mexico. The most profound change resulting, is the emergence of the Chihuahuan Desert as a “Globally Outstanding Ecoregion” from it’s previous “Important at a National Scale” status.


As above expressed most exercises analyzed, except the hotspots approach which emphasizes uniqueness in species richness, utilize a representative approach to determine biodiversity priority. The methodology used for the biodiversity priority setting exercises analyzed was the use of expert consultations, except for the three Biodiversity Support Program exercises that utilized expert workshops. It is highly probable that the amount and quality of the data used by the experts consultation, can be better analyzed that with the on the spot type of response that expert workshops require. On the other hand expert workshops provide for a joint on the spot feedback that allows for immediate and synergic feedback that enriches the exercise. Nevertheless most exercises lack data-driven rigor, except for the hotspots and the BSP marine exercises that utilize select biodiversity data, as shown in the following table:


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