Applying bioregionalism

Developing bioregional management
Promoting biodiversity resource management at regional levels
Bioregionalism involves the extension of habitat and biodiversity protection from the protected areas, parks and natural areas to the wider geographical region, incorporating where people live and work. This extension recognizes the need to avoid isolating key habitats, species and genetic materials within conservation areas, and instead, promotes the extension of conservation thinking regionally, into forestry, agriculture, fishing, wildlife management and the other major uses of land and water resources. Bioregionalism promotes the integration of local communities with conservation strategies and the development of sustainable livelihood relationships between people and the environment. Bioregional management draws upon the experience of protected conservation areas, biosphere reserves, integrated conservation and development projects, ecosystem management and land stewardship principles. A region wide approach to local biodiversity protection and conservation, integrated with local community needs, offers the best long term sustainable solution.

A bioregion requires to be large enough to accommodate migratory patterns, natural time cycles and absorb global change factors. Scale is necessary to iencorporate ecosystem functions and processes necessary for biotic communities and populations to function over the longer term. Further, a bioregion must be able to successfully incorporate core biodiversity sites (protected areas), wilderness areas, access corridors, mixed use land areas and human settlement areas within a single integrated geographic scheme.

Bioregional classification uses a combination of biogeographic and ecological parameters. A bioregion is a geographically related assemblage of ecoregions that share a similar biogeographic history and thus have strong affinities at higher taxonomic levels ([eg] genera, families). For example, the Asia-Pacific region includes parts of three of the world's eight biogeographic divisions, namely the Palaearctic, Indo-Malayan and Oceanian realms. The region also includes the world's highest mountain system (Himalayas), the second largest rain forest complex and more than half the world's coral reefs. The Southeast Asian sub-region is noted as the centre of diversity of wild and domestic cereals and fruit species.
The development of bioregional approaches to ecological conservation requires a three part approach. Principally it requires capacity building among the stakeholders and their agents within a region with the introduction of new planning skills and conservation principles, essentially building upon existing capacity. Second, developing bioregional programmes requires the direct involvement of local people, the acknowledgement of their needs and interests and the integration of these into sustainable programme activities. Third, it requires new levels of organizational and institutional cooperation at the regional level, supporting local activity and integrating local planning with national plans.

Bioregionalism is essentially a community "bottom up" approach to ecological management and sustainable development where the aim is to find a balance between the resident community's need for livelihoods and the potential of natural resources in the bioregion, within ecological, economic and social terms.

The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy is now for the first time applying the ecological network model to the continental scale through the establishment of the Pan-European Ecological Network. The participating states have agreed that the network should be established by 2005 and that it will ensure that: a) a full range of ecosystems, habitats, species and landscapes of European importance are conserved; b) the habitats are large enough to enable species to be conserved; c) there are sufficient opportunities for species to disperse and migrate; d) damaged parts of the key environmental systems are restored; and e) the key environmental systems are buffered from potential threats. The Pan-European Ecological Network will be built up from core areas, corridors and buffer zones. Restoration areas will be identified where it will be necessary to improve the ecological status of parts of the potential network.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal