A new map of global ecological land units — An ecophysiographic stratification approach

By: , and 



In response to the need and an intergovernmental commission for a high resolution and data-derived global ecosystem map, land surface elements of global ecological pattern were characterized in an ecophysiographic stratification of the planet. The stratification produced 3,923 terrestrial ecological land units (ELUs) at a base resolution of 250 meters. The ELUs were derived from data on land surface features in a three step approach. The first step involved acquiring or developing four global raster datalayers representing the primary components of ecosystem structure: bioclimate, landform, lithology, and land cover. These datasets generally represent the most accurate, current, globally comprehensive, and finest spatial and thematic resolution data available for each of the four inputs. The second step involved a spatial combination of the four inputs into a single, new integrated raster dataset where every cell represents a combination of values from the bioclimate, landforms, lithology, and land cover datalayers. This foundational global raster datalayer, called ecological facets (EFs), contains 47,650 unique combinations of the four inputs. The third step involved an aggregation of the EFs into the 3,923 ELUs. This subdivision of the Earth’s surface into relatively fine, ecological land areas is designed to be useful for various types of ecosystem research and management applications, including assessments of climate change impacts to ecosystems, economic and non-economic valuation of ecosystem services, and conservation planning.

Publication type Book
Publication Subtype Monograph
Title A new map of global ecological land units — An ecophysiographic stratification approach
ISBN 978-0-89291-276-6
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Association of American Geographers, U. S. Geological Survey, GEO BON
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Land Change Science
Description 46 p.
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