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2.3.1 MARINE ECOREGIONAL EXERCISES

SETTING GEOGRAPHIC PRIORITIES FOR MARINE CONSERVATION

IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN Biodiversity Support Program (Sullivan & Bustamante, 1999).

Nine “Coastal Biogeographic Provinces” were delineated in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of Latin America and the Caribbean based upon a number of biological, physical and geographic characteristics including features of the continental shelf and ocean currents, the water temperature regime and the occurrence of upwelling. Three Coastal Biogeographic Provinces or 33% of them, are represented within Mexico’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Each Coastal Biogeographic Province consists of smaller geographic units called “Coastal Biogeographic Regions” or simply marine ecoregions. These were defined and delineated according to patterns of ocean circulation, coast geomorphology and distribution of major faunal populations. Eight out of a total of 38 marine ecoregions or 21% of them, are represented within Mexico’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The study involved ranking ecoregions within each province according to biological value and urgency for conservation action. No comparison was made between ecoregions across provinces since there is no basis to this exercise due to the distinctiveness of one another.

Mexican Temperate Pacific Biogeographic Region Magdalena Transition Biogeographic Region Cortesian Biogeographic Region (Highest priority within Province)

L M

M H

H

H

- Tropical Eastern Pacific Biogeographic Province Clipperton and Revillagigedo Islands Biog. Region Mexican Tropical Pacific Biogeographic Region Chiapas Nicaragua Biogeographic Region

L L M

L M H

  • -

    Warm-temperate Northeastern Pacific Biogeographic Province

ATLANTIC OCEAN

  • -

    Temperate Northwestern Atlantic Coastal Biogeographic Province (Added)

(Added for this analysis, based in Ray et al. 1982) Northern Gulf of Mexico Biogeographic Region N/A

N/A

Biological and

Urgency for

Ecological Value

Conservation

  • -

    Tropical Northwestern Atlantic Coastal Biogeographic Province

M H

Gulf of Mexico Biogeographic Region Central Caribbean Biogeographic Region (Highest priority within Province)

M H

Geographic Unit PACIFIC OCEAN

(L =Low, M = Medium, H =High)

Biogeographic Regions or marine ecoregions are still generally to large to provide useful guidance to donors and policymakers about investing in specific areas. The Central Caribbean Biogeographic Region was divided in “Coastal Systems” to delineate smaller segments of the coastal shelf. The three coastal systems in the Central Caribbean present in Mexican waters are:

Coastal System

Urgency for Conservation

(Northern) Quintana Roo Eastern Yucatan Bays Belize and Mexican Atolls ‘ Errata in Sullivan & Bustamante, 1999.

High Medium High

Feasibility for Conservation

Conservation Priority

Investment

High High High

High’ (= Medium*) Medium’ (= High*) High(= High*)

  • *

    As originally defined by the Central Caribbean Ecoregional Plan Design Team (Randall et al, 1998

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