Habitat diversity data are presented for context; they do not represent a true indicator. The major habitats occurring in a country are grouped by biomes (for countries in Asia, Europe, Oceania as well as Canada) or sub-class of ecosystems (for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States) that are distinguished by different color schemes. The number of major habitats in a country depends on many factors such as the size of the country, diversity of climates and soils, and topographic complexity.
By 2015, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.
These data are available globally.
Two methods were used to develop the habitat diversity visualization. For the Americas (except Canada) and Africa, the data depict macrogroup-level vegetation classifications using the International Vegetation Classification standard. For the rest of the world, the data reflect the diversity of Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World.
The macrogroup classifications represent the potential and current location and extent of vegetation types. For countries in the Americas where current vegetation maps are available, we calculated habitat diversity (i.e., the proportion of a country’s land and inland water area covered by each habitat type) based on the existing vegetation type. For the Africa, where comprehensive, continent-wide vegetation maps are currently not available, we calculated habitat diversity based on the biophysical setting as a potential distribution of vegetation. The macrogroup classifications build on prior national and regional ecological classifications that describing natural upland and wetland conditions. National and regional maps of current extent were reconciled to the standard classification and provided georeferenced locations for use in modeling. Spatial modeling used climate, geophysical data layers, and satellite spectral data, in a sequential process to map potential distributions at several levels of the vegetation classification hierarchy. All classifications in South America and Africa use a spatial resolution of 90 m, whereas classifications in North and Central America use a spatial resolution of 30 m.
The Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World are defined as relatively large units of land or water containing a distinct assemblage of natural communities sharing a large majority of species, dynamics and environmental conditions. They are derived from global maps of floristic or zoogeographic provinces, global and regional maps of units based on the distribution of selected groups of plants and animals, biotic province maps and global maps of broad vegetation types (for determining the extent of realms and biomes), and published regional classification systems (used as a baseline for ecoregion boundaries). Data and consultations from regional experts were important for final ecoregion delineations. There are 867 terrestrial ecoregions, classified into 14 different biomes such as forests, grasslands or deserts. Ecoregions represent the original distribution of distinct assemblages of species and communities.
Vegetation classification is based on modeling, which can be affected by the quality of input data. Use of locally-produced vegetation maps in the development of both macrogroup and ecoregion delineation can result in some geographical variation in how units are defined. In general, macrogroups are a finer level of vegetation classification than ecoregions.
In the Americas (except Canada), the proportional representation of each habitat type is calculated by dividing the existing area of the habitat by the total area of all natural habitats in a country. Anthropogenically-altered habitats are therefore not represented in the visualization. For Canada and other regions outside of the Americas, where anthropogenically altered habitats are not mapped, proportional representation is calculated by dividing the area of each habitat type (potential macrogroups in Africa and terrestrial ecoregions elsewhere) in a country by the area of land and inland water bodies in that country.
Learn more about the Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World here.
Learn more about the International Vegetation Classification here.
Download the Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World here.
Download the Africa vegetation map here.
Download the American vegetation map here.
Comer, P.J., J.C. Hak, C. Josse, and R. Smyth. In prep. Long-term trends in extent of terrestrial ecosystem types of the Americas. NatureServe.
Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, D. Tart, C. Josse, G. Navarro, B. Hoagland, S. Ponomarenko, J-P. Saucier, A.Weakley, and P. Comer. 2014. EcoVeg: a new approach to vegetation description and classification. Ecological Monographs 84(4):533-561.
Olson, D. M., Dinerstein, E., Wikramanayake, E. D., Burgess, N. D., Powell, G. V. N., Underwood, E. C., D'Amico, J. A., Itoua, I., Strand, H. E., Morrison, J. C., Loucks, C. J., Allnutt, T. F., Ricketts, T. H., Kura, Y., Lamoreux, J. F., Wettengel, W. W., Hedao, P., Kassem, K. R. 2001. Terrestrial ecoregions of the world: a new map of life on Earth. Bioscience 51:933-938.
Sayre, R., P. Comer, J. Hak, C. Josse, J. Bow, H. Warner, M. Larwanou, E. Kelbessa, T. Bekele, H. Kehl, R. Amena, R. Andriamasimanana, T. Ba, L. Benson, T. Boucher, M. Brown, J. Cress, O. Dassering, B. Friesen, F. Gachathi, S. Houcine, M. Keita, E. Khamala, D. Marangu, F. Mokua, B. Morou, L. Mucina, S. Mugisha, E. Mwavu, M. Rutherford, P. Sanou, S. Syampungani, B. Tomor, A. Vall, J. Vande Weghe, E. Wangui, and L. Waruingi. 2013. A New Map of Standardized Terrestrial Ecosystems of Africa. Washington, DC: Association of American Geographers. 24 pages.
United States National Vegetation Classification (USNVC). 2016. United States National Vegetation Classification Database, V2.0. Federal Geographic Data Committee, Vegetation Subcommittee, Washington, DC.
More information about the indicators presented on the Biodiversity Indicators Dashboard is available by contacting us.