USGS Produces a New Ecosystem Map

by Matt Ball on July 25, 2009

Picture 1The U.S. Geological Survey has produced a new map and map standards for terrestrial ecosystems for the conterminous United States. The map and methodology show 419 meso-scale ecosystems, where previous maps showed only 40-60 macro-scale ecological regions.

The new data is intended to help address climate change impacts and to help assess the economic value of ecosystem goods and services. The data, maps and methodology will be of use for land managers looking to implement ecosystem-based management.

USGS geographer Roger Sayre, leader of this U.S. ecosystem mapping effort, is also the Task Lead for a global ecosystems mapping effort under the auspices of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).  Having mapped the ecosystems of South America and currently completing a new ecosystems map for the African continent, Sayre is now “going global” with the mapping methodology.

Visit the online, interactive version of the map at the Terrestrial Ecosystems in the Conterminous United States Web site. The published professional paper is available here, and there’s also a description of the GEOSS Global Ecosystem Mapping project.

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