data availability, social structures, infrastructure, and professional capacity in the ecoregions across the planet. There is no tool especially tailored to help set restoration priorities. These priorities should emerge from a generic comprehensive planning process. A full discussion of the tools available for ecoregional conservation planning is beyond the scope of this paper. Some of the primary tools include: • WWF’s approaches to ecoregion conservation, 70 including specific advice about actions in priority conservation landscapes71 and case studies72 and a detailed guide to implementation within ecoregions73 • The Nature Conservancy’s approach to ecoregion conservation74 • Systematic conservation planning approaches as developed in New South Wales, Australia75 The use of a geographic information system (GIS) is practically mandatory when considering spatial planning for conservation. The GIS allows spatial maps to display conservation options, and more powerfully, allows the user to combine biological and socioeconomic information to analyse ways of meeting conservation goals at the least socioeconomic “cost.” Additional tools that work alongside and with a GIS are decision support software tools, which allow numerous competing variables to be combined. Depending on the particular tool used, a single best conservation configuration may be generated or a range of choices can be portrayed. In some of these tools, once a decision is made regarding a particular portion of the landscape, the entire study area can be recalculated to portray the next best options. 4. Future Needs Further development is needed for tools to prioritise restoration needs. Current decision support tools are able to identify remaining 70 Dinerstein et al, 2000. 71 Loucks et al, 2004. 72 Palminteri, 2003. 73 WWF, 2003. 74 Groves et al, 2000. 75 Margules and Pressey, 2000. 6. Restoration as a Strategy to Contribute to Ecoregion Visions 49 habitat for inclusion in protected area networks, and these tools can be used to work with maps of previously existing potential vegetation. However, further refinement of these tools and associated techniques to identify areas that could be restored to meet representation goals is needed. References Dinerstein, E., Powell, G., Olson, D., et al. 2000. A workbook for conducting biological assessments and developing biodiversity visions for ecoregionbased conservation. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC. http://www.worldwildlife. org/science/pubs2.cfml. Groves, C.R., Valutis, L.L., Vosick, D., et al. 2000. Designing a geography of hope: a practitioner’s handbook to ecoregional conservation planning. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. www. conserveonline.org. Loucks, C., Springer, J., Palminteri, S., Morrison, J., and Strand, H. 2004. From the Vision to the Ground: A Guide to Implementing Ecoregion Conservation in Priority Areas. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC. Margules, C.R., and Pressey, R.L. 2000. Systematic conservation planning. Nature 405:243–253. Noss, R.F. 1992. The wildlands project: land conservation strategy. Wild Earth (Special issue) 10–25. Noss, R.F. 2001. Beyond Kyoto: forest management in a time of rapid climate change. Conservation Biology 15(3):578–590. Olson, D.M., and Dinerstein, E. 1998. The global 200: a representation approach to conserving the earth’s most biological valuable ecoregions. Conservation Biology 12:502–515. Olson, D.M., Dinerstein, E., Wikramanayake, E.D., et al. 2001. A new map of life on earth. BioScience 15:933–938. Palminteri, S. 2003. Ecoregion conservation: securing living landscapes through science-based planning and action. A users guide for ecoregion conservation through examples from the field (draft). CD-Rom. World Wildlife Fund US, Washington, DC. Scott, J.M., Norse, E.A., Arita, H., et al. 1999. The issue of scale in selecting and designing biological reserves. In: Soule, M.E., Terborgh, J. Continental Conservation; Scientific Foundations of Regional Reserve Networks. Island Press, Washington, DC. WWF. 2003. Ecoregion Action Programmes A Guide for Practitioners. WWF International, Gland, Switzerland.