A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems
Keith et al. 2022
A new paper in Nature, A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems, presents the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Ecosystem Typology. It is a conceptually robust, scalable, spatially explicit approach for generalizations and predictions about functions, biota, risks and management remedies across the entire biosphere.
The typology is intended for policy, media and technical specialists interested in better understanding ecosystem dynamics. Supported by maps, infographics and pictures, it also provides a summary as well as in-depth information on notions such as realms, biomes, functional groups and more technical notions such as ecological drivers, distribution that can help specialists to assess ecosystems.
The comprehensive classification framework of Earth’s ecosystems integrates their functional and compositional features, and helps identify the ecosystems that are most critical for biodiversity conservation, research, management and human wellbeing into the future. The typology was created through a large collaboration across disciplines, and places the world’s ecosystems into a single theoretical context, that can be used to guide ecosystem policy and management from global to local scales. It can also support knowledge transfer for ecosystem-specific management and restoration, globally standardized ecosystem risk assessments, natural capital accounting and progress on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’.
The IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology is the first globally consistent classification of ecosystems that reflects functional responses to change and management within individual ecosystems, and their variable biota, service provision and relative exposure to risks.
Learn more in the full Nature paper A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems.