Identifying and conserving ecosystems in protected area networks are top priorities for the conservation science community. The macroscale global ecoregions maps commonly in use today describe large ecologically meaningful areas, but not distinct localized ecosystems at the occurrence (patch) level, potentially leaving ecosystems at risk of being left out of conservation efforts.

 A new publication from GEO-GNOME contributor Roger Sayre ‘An assessment of the representation of ecosystems in global protected areas using new maps of World Climate Regions and World Ecosystems’ published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation, describes new, standardized, and high resolution (250 m) global terrestrial ecosystems, many of which are ecosystems in mountain environments. A global gap analysis of the representation of these ecosystems in protected papers is also included in the paper. There are 431 of these World Terrestrial Ecosystems at the globally aggregated level, and 1778 World Ecosystems when segregated by biogeographic realms (Neotropical, Palearctic, Indomalayan, etc.).

“When considering all protected areas, the conservation status of many ecosystems is relatively high. However, when considering only strictly conserved protected areas (IUCN management category I-IV), few ecosystems approach the 17% protection goal as specified in Aichi Target 11” says Sayre. “The management effectiveness of all protected areas is still unknown, and until it is known, gap analyses based on IUCN management category and other criteria are best understood as approximations in need of refinement." 

Read the Article


Sayre R, Karagulle D, Frye C, et al. (2020) 'An Assessment of the Representation of Ecosystems in Global Protected Areas Using New Maps of World Climate Regions and World Ecosystems.'  Global Ecology and Conservation 21, e00860.

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