The checklist consists of eight general standards, each of which includes several specific criteria that relate to the qualifications of staff, choice of biodiversity surrogates and goals, methodological comprehensiveness and rigor, replicability, analytic rigor, peer review, and overall quality of scholarship. Application of the checklist is meant to be flexible and to encourage creativity and innovation. Nevertheless, every plan must be scientifically defensible and must make the best use of available data, staff, and resources. Moreover, some degree of consistency is required to link individual plans together into a continental-scale network. The checklist may provide a template that other conservation organizations, agencies, scientists, and activists can adapt to their programs.