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© Yannick Andrea / WWF-Switzerland
Ecoregion Conservation
As one the richest biodiversity hotspots in Europe and also one of the most exploited mountain systems worldwide, the Alps were included in the global list of priority conservation regions - the global 200.
But to protect the Alpine ecoregion in its entirety, broad-scale and transboundary solutions are needed. WWF's ecoregion conservation (EC) plan offers such an approach and has been adopted by the European Alpine Programme as a way to conserve biodiversity in the Alps.

Goals of EC:

To secure long-term biodiversity conservation of an ecoregion by ensuring the:
  • representation of all native habitats
  • viability of populations of all native species
  • maintenance of essential ecological process 
  • resilience of ecosystems to ecological change

Key considerations in EC:

By following the ecoregional approach, many factors need to be considered at the level of the ecoregion, including:

  • trends in environmental change
  • trends in development (i.e. in agriculture, industry, urbanisation, dam constructions, etc.)
  • the fundamental forces driving those trends (i.e. economic pressures, demographics, politics, etc.)
  • the key stakeholders involved (i.e. governments, NGOs, local communities, etc.)
  • current protection status of key landscapes and habitats 

Important steps in EC

  • Develop a biodiversity vision
  • Identify priority conservation areas and re-establish ecological networks
  • Develop and implement an ecoregion action plan

Ecoregions defined by WWF

The Global 200 
© WWF Int.

An ecoregion is defined as a large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities that

(a) share a large majority of their species and ecological dynamics;
(b) share similar environmental conditions, and;
(c) interact ecologically in ways that are critical for their long-term persistence.

The Global 200

In the 1990s, WWF launched a programme to halt the global loss of biodiversity. The result of this initiative was the recognition of more than 200 ecoregions across the globe - the Global 200 - as being particularly important for the conservation of biodiversity. Focusing our conservation efforts on these global ecoregions will mean protecting the most outstanding and representative habitats for biodiversity on this planet.