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An atlas of sea turtle nesting habitat for the wider Caribbean region
Dow, W.; Eckert, K.; Palmer, M.; Kramer, P. (2007). An atlas of sea turtle nesting habitat for the wider Caribbean region. Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network/Nature Conservancy: Beaufort. 267 pp.

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Non-open access 288249

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Dow, W.
  • Eckert, K.
  • Palmer, M.
  • Kramer, P.

Abstract
    For more than 25 years the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), with Country Coordinators in more than 40 Caribbean nations and territories, has linked scientists, conservationists, natural resource users and managers, policy-makers, industry groups, educators, and other stakeholders together in a collective effort to develop a unified management framework, and to promote a region-wide capacity to design and implement scientifically sound sea turtle conservation programs. As a Partner Organization of the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme and its Regional Programme for Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW), WIDECAST is designed to address research and management priorities at national and regional levels, both for sea turtles and for the habitats upon which they depend. We focus on bringing the best available science to bear on contemporary management and conservation issues, empowering stakeholders to make effective use of that science in the policy-making process, and providing an operational mechanism and a framework for cooperation at all levels, both within and among nations. Network participants are committed to working collaboratively to develop their collective capacity to manage shared sea turtle populations. By bringing people together and encouraging inclusive management planning, WIDECAST is helping to ensure that utilization practices, whether consumptive or non-consumptive, do not undermine sea turtle survival over the long term. This Technical Report asks a deceptively simple question:?Where do sea turtles nest in the Wider Caribbean Region? An accurate answer is critical to the recovery of depleted populations in that it relates directly to the setting of priorities for national and international conservation action, population monitoring and habitat protection, as well as larger issues of coastal zone management and land use policy. Taking advantage of modern spatial analysis methods, as well as the unique expertise (and patience) of more than 120 Caribbean Data Providers and other experts, we have created the first regional maps of the distribution and abundance of the annual reproductive effort for all six Caribbean-nesting sea turtles. This landmark database? a collaborative effort between WIDECAST and The Nature Conservancy? identifies all known sea turtle nesting sites in the Wider Caribbean Region (inclusive of Bermuda and Brazil); 1,311 beaches in all. Because some sites host nesting by multiple species, 2,535 species-specific sites are named. In no case were data simply absorbed from other regional synthesis efforts. We traced each data point to its original source for verification and rating, discarding many existing records that did not meet our criteria. As a result, data characterized as?Lo? quality comprise less than 11% of the database and improving information in these areas is an ongoing priority. The database significantly expands our understanding of habitat use, while at the same time facilitates the creation of operational frameworks to census populations, monitor stock recovery, and safeguard habitat in ways that have not been possible before. The entire database, available for interactive uses, is accessible through OBIS-SEAMAP at http://seamap.env.duke.edu/ and at www.widecast.org. Our sincere gratitude is extended to the hundreds of colleagues (Data Providers and others) who made this project possible, and we hope it sets an example for other geographic regions to follow.

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