G200 Maps (1999-2000)
Conservation Status of Terrestrial Ecoregions
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
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
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
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
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.