The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has today published the first comprehensive system for classifying and mapping all ecosystems on Earth based on both their functions and composition.
The system, developed by more than 100 ecosystem scientists and named the Global Typology of Ecosystems, defines the key biophysical features of 108 major ecosystem types throughout the oceans, freshwater and land, and describes the processes that sustain them as well as their global distributions.
This systematic approach to classifying ecosystems will help identify which are most critical to biodiversity conservation and the supply of ecosystem services, and which are at greatest risk of collapse. It will also will inform the Red List of Ecosystems.
IUCN also launched a fully interactive website, introducing the typology.