Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World

Oct 27, 2010 (Last modified May 13, 2011)
Dataset was scientifically peer reviewed
This map depicts the 825 terrestrial ecoregions of the globe. Ecoregions are relatively large units of land containing distinct assemblages of natural communities and species, with boundaries that approximate the original extent of natural communities prior to major land-use change. This comprehensive, global map provides a useful framework for conducting biogeographical or macroecological research, for identifying areas of outstanding biodiversity and conservation priority, for assessing the representation and gaps in conservation efforts worldwide, and for communicating the global distribution of natural communities on earth. We have based ecoregion delineations on hundreds of previous biogeographical studies, and refined and synthesized existing information in regional workshops over 10 years to assemble the global dataset. Ecoregions are nested within two higher-order classifications: biomes (14) and biogeographic realms (8). Together, these nested classification levels provide a framework for comparison among units and the identification of representative habitats and species assemblages. Ecoregions have increasingly been adopted by research scientists, conservation organizations, and donors as a framework for analyzing biodiversity patterns, assessing conservation priorities, and directing effort and support (Ricketts et al. 1999a; Wikramanayake et al. 2001; Ricketts et al. 1999b; Olson & Dinerstein 1998; Groves et al. 2000; Rosenzweig et al. 2003; and Luck et al. 2003). More on the approach to ecoregion mapping, the logic and design of the framework, and previous and potential uses are discusses in Olson et al. (2001) and Ricketts et al. (1999a).

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World Wildlife Fund - USA
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Olson, D.M., E. Dinerstein, E.D. Wikramanayake, N.D. Burgess, G.V.N. Powell, E.C. Underwood, J.A. D'Amico, I. Itoua, H.E. Strand, J.C. Morrison, C.J. Loucks, T.F. Allnutt, T.H. Ricketts, Y. Kura, J.F. Lamoreux, W.W. Wettengel, P. Hedao, and K.R. Kassem. Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth (PDF, 1.1M) BioScience 51:933-938.
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Conservation Science Program - World Wildlife Fund
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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License.
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Conservation Biology Institute

The Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) provides scientific expertise to support the conservation and recovery of biological diversity in its natural state through applied research, education, planning, and community service.