Brandon Letsinger

The Size of a Bioregion

How big is a bioregion? How is it’s scale defined? In this article, we jump into just what makes a bioregion.

  1. A bioregion is an area defined by natural boundaries, rather than arbitrary human made ones.
  2. A bioregion is the full extent of the watersheds within an interconnected area, the largest sense of scale based on physical similarities that makes sense.
  3. A bioregion can be made up of many ecosystems, soil patterns, weather types, and in terms of scale is larger than an ecoregion, and smaller than a continent.
  4. While borders within a bioregion may be transitional, soft and fuzzy, bioregional borders tend to be jagged, and hard, such as mountain ranges, peaks, ridges, volcanoes, continental uplifts, tectonic plates and faults. These hard edges define how energy flows within a set of boundaries.
  5. Bioregional boundaries don’t stop at waters edge, but should be stretched outwards until the physical edges reveal themselves.
  6. A bioregion is the smallest unit in which the ecosystems and inhabitants can be self sustaining. This includes human habitation (food, water, energy generation, production, transportation, consumption and waste streams). It can be as small as one island, or depending on the inhabitants, be a part of an archipelago or connected island chain.
  7. Bioregions are natural countries, which may contain many nations, inhabitants and peoples.
  8. Culture plays a part in defining bioregions. Humans play a large role as part of their ecosystems, and shared concerns, values, language and culture stem from sharing a land base.

Some Notes on Bioregional Planning

Bioregionalism uses these bioregions as a basis for mobilizing information, context and action. This includes

– grassroots & community based systems of activism, organization and governance that are accountable, transparent and representative of the inhabitants of an area;

– agriculture, land use and economy that is circular and regenerative, that lives within the carrying capacity of a bioregion, and puts more back in that it takes out;

– bioregion as a framework that breaks global issues down to a local level in which every person can take action, and action grows from the ground up


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