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Ecosystem Conservation Working Table PDF Print E-mail

The complexity of conserving North American ecosystems and their biodiversity requires trans-boundary collaboration. This table and its predecessors have worked together to advance an ecosystem-based approach to conservation, focusing in particular on opportunities for transboundary cooperation in the planning and management of terrestrial and marine protected areas and on wetlands and grassland conservation.

Mission Statement"To foster collaboration regarding designated conservation areas to ensure protection, management, and restoration of North American ecosystems and their biodiversity."

The CWS, USFWS, and the National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP) are the lead agencies for this table.  A variety of other partners have made important contributions to this table's work, including Parks Canada, the U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. National Oceonagraphic and Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service, and the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC).


  • Facilitated development and delivery of a wetland conservation training course in 1996 for over 200 federal, state, and municipal officials, NGO’s and university students in Mexico, coordinated by the Arizona Fish and Game Department. A Management Manual for Wetlands in Mexico was produced, now in its 3rd edition.
  • Hosted a monarch butterfly conference in 1997 to address conservation and development opportunities for communities inside Mexico’s Monarch Biosphere Reserve. Protection of the monarch butterfly and its habitat is a priority activity for this table: The monarch’s amazing life history has served as a unifying symbol for collaborative action by the North  America’s countries.
  • Supported efforts to establish a wetlands classification system for Mexico to aid in the delineation of important habitat for migratory and resident aquatic birds. A first inventory of wetlands was produced in 2003, based on work conducted by Ducks Unlimited initiated in 1994, and with financial support of Wetland International and other organizations.
  • Provided a forum for the three North American signatories to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance to develop and promote a continental approach to the implementation of Convention agreements. This table advanced the 2004 designation of the Laguna Madre ecosystem as a Ramsar site and facilitates work with other important wetlands in the area, in particular Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, in the U.S.
  • Coordinated a plenary session in 2004 on the preservation of North  America’s grasslands, which sustain 13 species identified of common  interest to the three countries, including: ferruginous hawk, burrowing owl, and black-tailed prairie dog. A series of key collaborative conservation actions in the areas of land use management, socio-economic incentives, education and research have been identified.
  • Implemented the first tri-national protected areas workshop in 2005, which was attended by 24 protected areas managers and practitioners from CWS, USFWS and CONANP. The workshop provided opportunity for these agencies to discuss shared management challenges and strategies, and identify opportunities for collaboration and training needs.
  • Developed in 2005, a framework for Trilateral Committee recognition of “Sister Protected Areas” networks to link land management expertise and habitat conservation efforts between protected areas in the three countries that share common ecosystem features, wildlife populations, or other similar resources or management interests, including a tri-national network of monarch butterfly protected areas.



Facilitating international cooperation for conserving the living heritage of North America.

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