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The Most and Least Protected Global Terrestrial Ecosystems

Authors: Roger Sayre*, United States Geological Survey
Topics: Landscape, Biogeography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: mapping, global ecosystems, conservation, Aichi target, ecology
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The U.S. Geological Survey and Esri, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, have produced a new map of global terrestrial ecosystems based on a mapping of three structural ecosystem elements: climate regime, landforms, and vegetation assemblages. The protection status of these ecosystems was determined in a global gap analysis of the representation of ecosystems in protected areas. Percent protection levels were categorized as unprotected (0% protection), under-protected (>0% to 8.5%), moderately protected (8.5% to 17%), and well protected (>17%). These percent protection levels reflect progress towards the 17% Aichi Goal 11 target, and the unprotected and under-protected ecosystems could be considered as priority areas for conservation investment. Consistent with a common perception that many protected areas are remote and are protecting rocks and ice, many of the most protected ecosystems were located in inhospitable environments of snow, ice, bare areas, and deserts. We present the results of the global gap analysis from both a conservative approach (using only strictly conserved protected areas) and a more optimistic approach (using all protected areas).

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