Conserving natural diversity includes protecting the “last of the least” and the “best of the rest.” Last of the Least are imperiled species of plants and animals. Best of the Rest are excellent examples of all ecosystems.
Last Great Places highlights the top 10 places for conserving intact ecosystems, using minimum thresholds and a weighted ranking of four key factors.
- Ecosystem variety – 35 or more – 50%
- Vegetation condition – Under 50% departure – 20%
- Low human modification – score under .250 – 20%
- Size – over 100,000 acres-10%
The top places with a large variety of ecosystems, low human modification, fair to good vegetation condition, and large area to accommodate natural disturbances. Six of the top 10 places are managed for biodiversity conservation.