Indicative distribution maps for Ecosystem Functional Groups - Level 3 of IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology

  • David A. Keith (Creator)
  • José R. Ferrer-Paris (Creator)
  • Emily Nicholson (Creator)
  • Melanie J. Bishop (Creator)
  • Beth A. Polidoro (Creator)
  • Eva Ramirez-Llodra (Creator)
  • Mark G. Tozer (Creator)
  • Jeanne Nel (Creator)
  • Ralph Mac Nally (Creator)
  • Edward J. Gregr (Creator)
  • Kate E. Watermeyer (Creator)
  • Franz Essl (Creator)
  • Don Faber-Langendoen (Creator)
  • Janet Franklin (Creator)
  • Caroline E.R. Lehmann (Creator)
  • Andrés Etter (Creator)
  • Dirk Roux (Creator)
  • Jonathan S. Stark (Creator)
  • Jessica A. Rowland (Creator)
  • Neil A. Brummitt (Creator)
  • Ulla C. Fernandez-Arcaya (Creator)
  • Iain M. Suthers (Creator)
  • Susan K. Wiser (Creator)
  • Ian Donohue (Creator)
  • Leland J. Jackson (Creator)
  • R. Toby Pennington (Creator)
  • Thomas M. Iliffe (Creator)
  • Vasilis Gerovasileiou (Creator)
  • Paul Giller (Creator)
  • Belinda J. Robson (Creator)
  • Nathalie Pettorelli (Creator)
  • Angela Andrade (Creator)
  • Arild Lindgaard (Creator)
  • Teemu Tahvanainen (Creator)
  • Aleks Terauds (Creator)
  • Michael A. Chadwick (Creator)
  • Nicholas J. Murray (Creator)
  • Justin Moat (Creator)
  • Patricio Pliscoff (Creator)
  • Irene Zager (Creator)
  • Richard T. Kingsford (Creator)



This dataset includes the current version of the indicative distribution maps and profiles for Ecosystem Functional Groups - Level 3 of IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology (v2.1). Please refer to Keith et al. (2020) and Keith et al. (2022). The descriptive profiles provide brief summaries of key ecological traits and processes for each functional group of ecosystems to enable any ecosystem type to be assigned to a group.

Maps are indicative of global distribution patterns and are not intended to represent fine-scale patterns. The maps show areas of the world containing major (value of 1, coloured red) or minor occurrences (value of 2, coloured yellow) of each ecosystem functional group. Minor occurrences are areas where an ecosystem functional group is scattered in patches within matrices of other ecosystem functional groups or where they occur in substantial areas, but only within a segment of a larger region. Most maps were prepared using a coarse-scale template (e.g. ecoregions), but some were compiled from higher resolution spatial data where available (see details in profiles). Higher resolution mapping is planned in future publications.

We emphasise that spatial representation of Ecosystem Functional Groups does not follow higher-order groupings described in respective ecoregion classifications. Consequently, when Ecosystem Functional Groups are aggregated into functional biomes (Level 2 of the Global Ecosystem Typology), spatial patterns may differ from those of biogeographic biomes. Differences reflect the distinctions between functional and biogeographic interpretations of the term, “biome”.
Date made available5 Jul 2021
PublisherWageningen University


  • Human impact
  • Ecosystem classification
  • Ecosystem types
  • Ecosystem science
  • Earth sciences
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Aichi targets
  • Functional biomes
  • Ecosystem assembly
  • Ecosystem Functional Groups
  • Ecosystem management
  • Ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem traits
  • Life sciences
  • A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems

    Keith, D. A., Ferrer-Paris, J. R., Nicholson, E., Bishop, M. J., Polidoro, B. A., Ramirez-Llodra, E., Tozer, M. G., Nel, J. L., Mac Nally, R., Gregr, E. J., Watermeyer, K. E., Essl, F., Faber-Langendoen, D., Franklin, J., Lehmann, C. E. R., Etter, A., Roux, D. J., Stark, J. S., Rowland, J. A., Brummitt, N. A., & 21 othersFernandez-Arcaya, U. C., Suthers, I. M., Wiser, S. K., Donohue, I., Jackson, L. J., Pennington, R. T., Iliffe, T. M., Gerovasileiou, V., Giller, P., Robson, B. J., Pettorelli, N., Andrade, A., Lindgaard, A., Tahvanainen, T., Terauds, A., Chadwick, M. A., Murray, N. J., Moat, J., Pliscoff, P., Zager, I. & Kingsford, R. T., 20 Oct 2022, In: Nature. 610, 7932, p. 513-518 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
    52 Citations (Scopus)

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