G200 Maps (1999-2000)

G200: ecoregions map rel=
G200: ecoregions map
© WWF

Terrestrial Ecoregions

The colours on this map are intended to delineate ecoregion boundaries - they do not correspond with particular habitat types.

Conservation Status of Terrestrial Ecoregions

Not all the ecoregions included in the Global 200 face the same level of threat. Some still contain large areas of intact habitat and present important opportunities for conservation. Others, having already lost much of their original habitat, require urgent action and efforts to restore them.

WWF has ranked the terrestrial Global 200 ecoregions by their conservation status - classifying those ecoregions that are considered critical, endangered, or vulnerable as a result of direct human impacts, and those that are relatively stable or intact.

Nearly half (47%) of the terrestrial ecorgions are considered critical or endangered; another quarter (29%) are vulnerable; and only a quarter (24%) are relatively stable of intact.

Remaining Forests of the World

The Earth's forests are estimated to harbour well over 50% of all species.

As shown in the map of the remaining forest areas, half have already been lost, while much of what remains has been fragmented or degraded. The loss of tropical forests is particularly acute in the lowland forests of Asia and much of Africa and Latin America.

Only three large expanses of lowland forest remain in these regions: Amazon, the Congo Basin, and New Guinea.

Tropical dry forests are even more threatened, as they typically have more suitable climates and soils for agriculture, livestock ranching, and human settlements, than do rainforest areas.

Only 7 examples of temperate rainforests exist world-wide, including the Valdivian forests of Chile and Argentina and the temperate forests of Tasmania.

Freshwater and Marine Ecoregions

Global 200 analysis includes seven major habitat types for freshwater ecoregions: Large Rivers, Large River Headwaters, Large River Deltas, Small Rivers, Large Lakes, Small Lakes, and Xeric (dry) Basins.

All include representation of major wetlands and wetland habitat. Freshwater systems are uniquely vulnerable, and the species they harbour are increasingly threatened by the conversion of wetlands into croplands and the millions of dams which restrict water flows around the world.

Over half of the Global 200 freshwater ecoregions (53%) are critical or endangered and nearly a quarter (23%) are considered vulnerable. If the possible impacts of the greenhouse effect on the Earth's atmosphere are factored in, the position is yet more grave, with many of the regions, which are otherwise considered relatively stable or intact, subject to increasing levels of threat.

For Marine Ecoregions, the analysis includes representation of five major habitat types from each of the four marine biogeographic realms: Atlantic, Indo-Pacific, Arctic, and Southern Ocean. Worldwide, aquatic ecosystems are even more imperilled than their terrestrial counterparts.

Coral Reefs in Southeast Asia

Coral reefs benefit humankind by providing food, opportunities for tourism and recreation, aesthetic qualities, and shoreline protection.

They sustain innumerable coastal communities world-wide and have great economic, social and cultural importance to nations and entire regions.

They are also among the most biologically productive and diverse ecosystems in the world, and serve as indicators of environmental health.

Climate Change & The Global 200

This map represents a synthesis of current climate models indicating that many of the world's terrestrial ecoregions could experience a significant shift in vegetation patterns if current global warming trends continue.

In many regions, trees and other vegetation may not be able to shift their distributions fast enough to keep pace with the changing climate - specifically temperature change in this case.

These regions include the great boreal forests of Russia and Canada, and the savannahs of southern Africa.

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