North American Bird Conservation Initiative Program
In 1998 the United States, Canada, and Mexico joined together to develop a plan for conserving all avifauna found in North America. When the year had begun, there was merely one three acre island off the coast of Florida set aside for just migratory bird conservation. Now, the United States had joined an international partnership to protect all species of birds. The U.S. division of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) met in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1999 to begin drafting a map of ecoregions that would come to be known as Bird Conservation Regions.
Bird Conservation Regions (BCR's) are ecologically based conservation regions meant to group together similar habitats and ecosystems. The intent of BCR's was not to replace existing conservation efforts, but to instead coordinate existing and future conservation efforts so as to maximize their effectiveness. BCR's are meant to facilitate communication among the bird conservation initiatives. BCR's represent a systematic and scientific approach to apportioning the U.S. into conservation units. Though BCR's were a national initiative, they still lend themselves to a regional approach as they may be broken into smaller units for on the ground conservation efforts. NABCI aims to promote new, expanded, or reconstructed partnerships while also striving to identify overlapping or conflicting conservation priorities.