Ocean Ecosystem and Resources : Status, Trends, and Linkages

Ecologically Rich Areas

Ecologically Rich Areas could be defined as geographic places having clusters of ecological community types and species and their associated landscapes that are unique, rare or threatened; highly abundant; and/or valued for their long-term services to keep our environment healthy.

In general, areas with high numbers of species or habitats may be more productive, more resilient to change, and more resistant to invasions than areas with a low number of species (Morin 1999, Gray 2001). It is important to note that metrics of ecological richness would not necessarily highlight rare species or habitats. Another challenge associated with ecological richness arises in deciding whether a sampling effort is dense enough to have captured all of the potentially present species and habitats.

More data collection is needed and existing raw data need to be processed to identify Ecologically Rich Areas in the Mid-Atlantic region. Stakeholders with local and traditional knowledge should be consulted.

Selected Sources of Further Information

Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity)

Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecoregional Assessment (The Nature Conservancy)

Draft Interjurisdictional Coordination Actions (Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body)