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The Global 200 is the list of ecoregions identified by WWF, the global conservation organization, as priorities for conservation. According to WWF, an ecoregion is defined as a "relatively large unit of land or water containing a characteristic set of natural communities that share a large majority of their species dynamics, and environmental conditions".[1][2][3] So, for example, based on their levels of endemism, Madagascar gets multiple listings, ancient Lake Baikal gets one, and the North American Great Lakes get none.

The WWF assigns a conservation status to each ecoregion in the Global 200: critical or endangered; vulnerable; and relatively stable or intact. Over half of the ecoregions in the Global 200 are rated endangered.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

The WWF has identified 867 terrestrial ecoregions across the Earth's land surface, as well as freshwater and marine ecoregions. The goal of this classification system is to ensure that the full range of ecosystems will be represented in regional conservation and development strategies. Of these ecoregions, the WWF selected the Global 200 as the ecoregions most crucial to the conservation of global biodiversity. The Global 200 list actually contains 238 ecoregions, made up of 142 terrestrial, 53 freshwater, and 43 marine ecoregions.

Conservationists interested in preserving biodiversity have generally focused on the preservation of tropical moist broadleaf forests (commonly known as tropical rainforests) because it is estimated that they harbor one half of Earth's species. On the other hand, the WWF determined that a more comprehensive strategy for conserving global biodiversity should also consider the other half of species, as well as the ecosystems that support them.

Several habitats, such as Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, were determined to be more threatened than tropical rain forests, and therefore require concerted conservation action. WWF maintains that "although conservation action typically takes place at the country level, patterns of biodiversity and ecological processes (e.g., migration) do not conform to political boundaries", which is why ecoregion-based conservation strategies are deemed essential.

ClassificationEdit

Historically, zoologists and botanists have developed various classification systems that take into account the world's plant and animal communities. Two of the worldwide classification systems most commonly used today were summarized by Miklos Udvardy in 1975.

The Earth's land surface can be divided into eight biogeographical realms (formerly called kingdoms, and which the BBC calls ecozones) that represent the major terrestrial communities of animals and plants, and are a synthesis of previous systems of floristic provinces and faunal regions. The biome system classifies the world into ecosystem types (i.e. forests, grasslands, etc.) based on climate and vegetation. Each biogeographical realm contains multiple biomes, and biomes occur across several biogeographical realms. A system of biogeographical provinces was developed to identify specific geographic areas in each biogeographical realm that were of a consistent biome type, and shared distinct plant and animal communities. The WWF system represents a further refinement of the system of biomes (which the WWF calls "major habitat types"), biogeographical realms, and biogeographical provinces (the WWF scheme divides most biogeographical provinces into multiple smaller ecoregions).

Selection processEdit

Based on a comprehensive list of ecoregions, The Global 200 includes all major habitat types (biomes), all ecosystem types, and species from every major habitat type. It focuses on each major habitat type of every continent (such as tropical forests or coral reefs). It uses ecoregions as the unit of scale for comparison. WWF say ecoregions could be considered as conservation units at regional scale because they meet similar biological communities.

Some ecoregions were selected over other ecoregions of the same major habitat type (biome) or ecozone. Selection of the Global 200 relied on extensive studies of 19 terrestrial, freshwater, and marine major habitat types. Selection of the ecoregions was based on analyses of species richness, species endemism, unique higher taxa, unusual ecological or evolutionary phenomena, and global rarity of major habitat type.

Global 200 ecoregion list is most helpful to conservation efforts at a regional scale: local deforestation, destruction of swamp habitats, degradation of soils, etc. However, certain phenomena, such as bird or whale migration, depend on more complex parameters not used to define the current database, such as atmospheric currents and dynamic pelagic ecosystems. These would require gathering more information, and co-ordination of efforts between multiple ecoregions. However, the Global 200 ecoregions can help these efforts by identifying habitat sites and resting sites for migratory animals. It may also help identify the origin of invasive species, and offer insights for slowing down or stopping their intrusion.

Global 200: TerrestrialEdit

Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forestsEdit

AfrotropicEdit

AustralasiaEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NeotropicEdit

OceaniaEdit

Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forestsEdit

AfrotropicEdit

AustralasiaEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NeotropicEdit

OceaniaEdit

Tropical and subtropical coniferous forestsEdit

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

Temperate broadleaf and mixed forestsEdit

AustralasiaEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

PalearcticEdit

Temperate coniferous forestsEdit

NearcticEdit

PalearcticEdit

Boreal forests/taigaEdit

NearcticEdit

PalearcticEdit

Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublandsEdit

AfrotropicEdit

AustralasiaEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NeotropicEdit

  • Llanos savannas
  • Cerrado woodlands and savannas

Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublandsEdit

AustralasiaEdit

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

PalearcticEdit

Flooded grasslands and savannasEdit

AfrotropicEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NeotropicEdit

Montane grasslands and shrublandsEdit

AfrotropicEdit

Austral-asianEdit

  • New Guinea Central Range subalpine grasslands

IndomalayaEdit

NeotropicEdit

PalearcticEdit

TundraEdit

NearcticEdit

PalearcticEdit

Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrubEdit

AfrotropicEdit

AustralasiaEdit

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

PalearcticEdit

Deserts and xeric shrublandsEdit

AfrotropicEdit

AustralasiaEdit

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

PalearcticEdit

MangrovesEdit

AfrotropicEdit

AustralasiaEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NearticEdit

NeotropicEdit

Global 200: Freshwater ecoregionsEdit

Large riversEdit

AfrotropicEdit

IndomalayaEdit

  • Mekong River (Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam)

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

PalearcticEdit

Large river headwatersEdit

AfrotropicEdit

  • Congo basin piedmont rivers and streams (Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Sudan)

NearcticEdit

NeotropicEdit

  • Upper Amazon rivers and streams (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana (France), Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela)
  • Upper Paraná rivers and streams (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay)
  • Brazilian Shield Amazonian rivers and streams (Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay)

Large river deltasEdit

AfrotropicEdit

IndomalayaEdit

PalearcticEdit

Small riversEdit

AfrotropicEdit

  • Upper Guinea rivers and streams (Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone)
  • Madagascar freshwater (Madagascar)
  • Gulf of Guinea rivers and streams (Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Republic of Congo)
  • Cape rivers and streams (South Africa)

AustralasiaEdit

IndomalayaEdit

NearcticEdit

  • Southeastern rivers and streams (United States)
  • Pacific Northwest coastal rivers and streams (United States)
  • Gulf of Alaska coastal rivers and streams (Canada, United States)

NeotropicEdit

  • Guianan freshwater (Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela)
  • Greater Antillean freshwater (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico)

PalearcticEdit

  • Balkan rivers and streams (Albania, Bosnia and Herzogovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, Yugoslavia)
  • Russian Far East rivers and wetlands (China, Mongolia, Russia)

Large lakesEdit

AfrotropicEdit

  • Rift Valley lakes (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia)

NeotropicEdit

  • High Andean lakes (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru)

PalearcticEdit

Small lakesEdit

AfrotropicEdit

  • Cameroon crater lakes (Cameroon)

AustralasiaEdit

  • Lakes Kutubu and Sentani (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea)
  • Central Sulawesi lakes (Indonesia)

IndomalayaEdit

  • Philippines freshwater (Philippines)
  • Inle Lake (Myanmar)
  • Yunnan lakes and streams (China)

NeotropicEdit

  • Mexican highland lakes (Mexico)

Xeric basinsEdit

AustralasiaEdit

  • Central Australian freshwater (Australia)

NearcticEdit

PalearcticEdit

  • Anatolian freshwater (Syria, Turkey)

Global 200 Marine ecoregionsEdit

PolarEdit

Antarctic OceanEdit

Arctic OceanEdit

Temperate shelves and seasEdit

MediterraneanEdit

  • Mediterranean (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey)

North Temperate AtlanticEdit

North Temperate Indo-PacificEdit

Southern OceanEdit

Temperate upwellingEdit

North Temperate Indo-PacificEdit

South Temperate AtlanticEdit

South Temperate Indo-PacificEdit

Tropical upwellingEdit

Central Indo-PacificEdit

Eastern Indo-PacificEdit

Eastern Tropical AtlanticEdit

  • Canary Current (Canary Islands, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Western Sahara)

Tropical coralEdit

Central Indo-PacificEdit

Eastern Indo-PacificEdit

Western Indo-PacificEdit

  • Maldives, Chagos, and Lakshadweep atolls (Chagos Archipelago (United Kingdom), India, Maldives, Sri Lanka)
  • Red Sea (Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen)
  • Arabian Sea (Djibouti, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen)
  • East African Marine (Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania)
  • West Madagascar Marine (Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte and Iles Glorieuses (France), Seychelles)

Western Tropical AtlanticEdit

Global Priority PlacesEdit

WWF WWF has identified 35 global priority places around the world (terrestrial, freshwater and marine) as either being home to irreplaceable and threatened biodiversity, or representing an opportunity to conserve the largest and most intact representative of their ecosystem. [5]

  1. African Rift Lakes Region - Include the 3 largest lakes in Africa: Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi, as well as lakes Turkana, Albert, Edward, Kivu and others.
  2. Altai-Sayan Montane Forests - One of the last remaining untouched areas of the world
  3. Amazon Guianas - World's largest tropical rain forest and river basin with a mosaic of mountains, coniferous forests, steppe and alpine meadows.
  4. Amur-Heilong - Refuge for Amur leopard and tiger.
  5. Arctic Seas & Associated Boreal/Tundra - Protecting Arctic Environments
  6. Atlantic Forests - Forest stretches from the Atlantic coast of Brazil, south along the Brazilian Atlantic coastline and inland into northeast Argentina and eastern Paraguay.
  7. Borneo and Sumatra - Priceless forests harbor untold species
  8. Cerrado-Pantanal
  9. Chihuahuan Desert - Protecting the balance of a desert
  10. Choco-Darien
  11. Coastal East Africa - Improving livelihoods by conserving nature
  12. Congo Basin - Protecting Africa's tropical forests
  13. Coral Triangle - Home to the world's most abundant variety of corals and sea life
  14. Eastern Himalayas - Empowering communities to protect sacred lands
  15. Fynbos
  16. The Galápagos - The world's most treasured islands
  17. Greater Black Sea Basin
  18. Lake Baikal
  19. Madagascar - Safeguarding one of Earth's most captivating islands
  20. Mediterranean
  21. Mekong Complex - Protecting the river of life from source to sea
  22. Miombo Woodlands
  23. Namib-Karoo-Kaokoveld
  24. New Guinea & Offshore Islands
  25. Northern Great Plains
  26. Orinoco River & Flooded Forests
  27. Southeastern Rivers and Streams
  28. Southern Chile - A land of ancient forests and abundant oceans
  29. Southern Ocean
  30. Southwest Australia
  31. Southwest Pacific
  32. Sumatra
  33. West Africa Marine
  34. Western Ghats
  35. Yangtze Basin - Sustaining a valley of life

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Olson, D. M. & E. Dinerstein. 1998. The Global 200: A representation approach to conserving the Earth’s most biologically valuable ecoregions. Conservation Biol. 12:502–515.[1].
  2. ^ Olson, D. M., Dinerstein, E. 2002. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89(2):199-224, [2].
  3. ^ The Nature Conservancy. 1997. Designing a geography of hope: guidelines for ecoregion-based conservation in The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia
  4. ^ Congolian Coastal Forests - A Global Ecoregion
  5. ^ WWF's Strategic Plan for Conservation

External linksEdit