Unit 4b. Biodiversity and Protected Areas




Figure 4.b.1




In this assignment you will combine your ArcGIS training, analytical skills and a little creativity, to address a global change problem with specific objectives. You will conduct a systematic analysis of the necessary data elements, and present the results in a logical, well-designed and professional report.


Imagine that you are an international environmental consultant for the largest multinational development institution, the World Bank. You have been contracted on an important project because of your sharp analytical skills and experience with geographical information systems (GIS) in analyzing spatial data. You are given an assignment and will use ArcGIS and a global database to produce an accurate and comprehensive report. This report will form the basis of decisions made by an executive council, which is relying on the timely submission of your work. Failure to produce this information punctually will result in your immediate termination as a consultant with the World Bank, ending a very promising career.



The World Bank, under pressure from several nations and in response to the outcry of many environmental organizations, is considering proposals for funding the establishment of protected areas (e.g. ecological reserves, national parks, natural heritage regions).


The geographic regions under review for this program are:



You have been asked to select one of these regions and produce a report determining which four countries therein are the best candidates for conservation funds. Funding priority will be assigned to countries with:


  1. Low percentage of total land area protected
  2. High percent loss of forest habitat
  3. High number of total plant species
  4. High density of threatened bird and mammal species
  5. High percentage of critically threatened biome


In addition, the executive council overseeing this funding allocation would like the countries to be representative of the region as a whole. The recommended countries should therefore be geographically dispersed, rather than clumped together.


Although the five criteria are listed in order of importance, as determined by the executive council, it is your job to develop a systematic method for ranking the countries in order of conservation importance. For example, you must decide if highest priority should be given to countries that possess a combination of the above criteria, or if it is more important to choose the most worthy country with respect to each criterion. You must also decide how to evaluate the importance of each country’s geographic location.


The executive committee has little time to spend reading your report, so it must be concise and organized, yet rich with information and graphically appealing. Use descriptive, properly labeled maps wherever possible to support your conclusions and recommendations. You are also encouraged to supplement your maps with charts that depict the variations among the countries in your region.


For the region of your choice, you must deliver the following products:


1.      A cover sheet / title page with a map illustrating the location of the region within the continent, and a listing of the countries under consideration.


2.      A written report of 2-4 double-spaced pages (12 point type) stating the four countries that you recommend for funding, as well as a detailed explanation of the methods and ranking system you used to select those countries, a description of each country’s primary attributes, and a conclusion summarizing your findings.


3.      At least five maps and/or charts derived from the ArcGIS data set showing, for each criterion, the relative ranking of the recommended countries in relation to other countries in the region. These figures must be referenced in the body of the main report (e.g. “see Figure 1”) and will serve to illustrate your analysis and conclusions. Each figure should be saved in an ArcGIS map layout and must be numbered (e.g. Figure 1). 


All of the above components must be integrated into a professional report. All charts must have titles, appropriate legends, labeled axes and referencing labels (e.g. Figure 1. Map of…). All maps must have titles, appropriate legends, country labels (when appropriate), and referencing labels. All maps and charts should be limited to the region of interest.



Your report will be evaluated on your ability to:



Helpful Hints










Figure 4.b.2

Adding charts to layouts






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