Ecoregions: Earth's most special places

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North tip of Akimiski Island in James Bay, Canada. August 2000. Mudflats surrounding the island brighten the nearshore waters, while rivers on the mainland spill brown, tannin-loaded sediments into the strait. NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data provided by the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.
© NASA

Big. Blue. Beautiful.

Biodiversity is not spread evenly across the Earth but follows complex patterns determined by climate, geology and the evolutionary history of the planet.

These patterns are called ecoregions.

WWF defines an ecoregion as:

a large unit of land or water containing a geographically distinct assemblage of species, natural communities, and environmental conditions

The boundaries of an ecoregion are not fixed and sharp, but rather encompass an area within which important ecological and evolutionary processes most strongly interact.

The Global Ecoregions recognize the fact that, whilst tropical forests and coral reefs harbour the most biodiversity and are the traditional targets of conservation organizations, unique manifestations of nature are found in temperate and boreal regions, in deserts and mountain chains, which occur nowhere else on Earth and which risk being lost forever if they are not conserved.

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