The conservation priorities for the Guiana Shield presented in this section were set using a method developed and refined in similar priority-setting exercises facilitated by Conservation International and its partners in more than 10 regions over the past 12 years.

The approach is based on two main information sources: the opinions of the biological and socioeconomic experts who attended the workshop and a state-of-the-art knowledge assessment, which consisted of gathering the best available ecological and socioeconomic data on the Guiana Shield and organizing it into a comprehensive information system prior to the workshop.

Geographic information was also a key part of the priority-setting process: all biological and socioeconomic discussions and analyses had a geographical basis in that workshop participants focused on identifying areas of importance, regardless of theme, on large-scale maps, which were later digitized.

Follow the links below for a more detailed description of the Guayana Shield conservation priority-setting process, including information about planning, data collection, and other pre-workshop activities as well as descriptions of each day's activities during the workshop itself.

Conservation priority-setting process:



The Guiana Shield Priority-setting Workshop culminated in the drafting of the Paramaribo Declaration, a detailed list of recommendations for conservation action that was endorsed by all workshop participants and signed in Paramaribo, Suriname, on April 9, 2002, by Wouter Veening, Head, Guiana Shield Initiative, NC-IUCN; Richard Olver, Resident Representative, UNDP-Guyana; and Russell Mittermeier, President, Conservation International.

Workshop recommendations, including full text of Paramaribo Declaration:



Over 100 experts on the biology and socioeconomics of the Guiana Shield participated in the priority-setting workshop. The list below contains each participant's name, organization, and country.

Participant list:


White Papers

Leaders from the various thematic working groups produced the following white papers and associated documents in preparation for the workshop. They are offered here in the form they were received; no additional edits have been made. As a result, these papers may contain inconsistencies in style and terminology, misspellings, and other similar types of errors.

A preliminary analysis of large-scale forest inventory data of the Guiana Shield (PDF, English, 19 pp.)

Amphibians of the Guayana region: An overview for its conservation and future research (PDF, Spanish, 43 pp.)

An inventory of the commercial Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in the Guiana Shield (PDF, English, 73 pp.)

Biological diversity of Guianan fresh and brackish water fishes (PDF, English and Spanish combined, 78 pp.)

Climatology/hydrology white paper
(PDF, English, 7 pp.)

Floristics of the Guayana Shield (PDF, English, 15 pp.)

Hydrography and ecohydrology of the Guiana Shield ecoregion (PDF, English, 12 pp.)

Reptiles from the Guayana Shield (PDF, English, 6 pp.)


Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to upload the data mentioned hereunder to our website. If you want to obtain any of these data, please e-mail the GSI Secretariat.

Forms Databases

The forms databases are a compilation of the forms which experts used to submit biological and socioeconomic data during the workshop. The databases were created after the workshop took place. They are viewable with Microsoft Access® database software.

Forms databases (ZIP)

Geographic Data

The following shapefiles (learn more about shapefiles) contain geographic data collected at the workshop. These data were digitized during the workshop by an on-site staff of geographic information systems (GIS) experts. The files are presented here in ESRI ArcView® shapefile format. They are viewable with ESRI ArcExplorer® software, available for download free of charge.

Complete collection of geographic data (ZIP) in a single file (please email Secretariat)

Base Data

Shapefiles (ZIP) detailing country borders, elevation, rivers, major cities, and populated areas in the Guayana Shield region.

Biological Importance

Shapefiles (ZIP) displaying biological priority areas broken down by thematic working group: floristics, plant ecology, invertebrates, freshwater, amphibians and reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Conservation Priorities

Shapefiles (ZIP) showing the integrated biological priorities with associated information on socioeconomic pressure and conservation opportunity.

Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs)

Shapefiles (ZIP) displaying animal and plant harvesting areas, generalized hunting pressures, and markets for NTFPs.

Physical Geography

Shapefiles (ZIP) for fluvial dynamics, geologic diversity, high water yields, highlands, oligotrophic areas, and water sources for populated areas.

Research Priorities

Shapefiles (ZIP) showing the priorities for research in the Guayana Shield region.

Scientific Effort

Shapefiles (ZIP) detailing the scientific effort broken down by thematic working group: floristics, plant ecology, invertebrates, freshwater, amphibians and reptiles, birds; and mammals.

Socioeconomic Pressures

Shapefiles (ZIP) detailing the generalized socioeconomic pressures throughout the Guayana Shield region.

Study Area Boundaries

Shapefiles (ZIP) showing the limits of the Guiana Shield region as delineated by individual working groups based on the characteristics of each group's theme.
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