New study classifies for the first time the entire planet’s ecosystems | News Center

A team of international scientists has compiled research that may positively impact future conservation efforts.

by Leslie LJ Riley

A global multidisciplinary team of scientists, including Janet FranklinAnd the A San Diego State University biogeographer and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, led by University of New South Wales researchers in Sydney, has developed the first comprehensive classification of the world’s ecosystems across land, rivers, wetlands and seas. Ecosystem classification will enable the most coordinated and effective biodiversity conservation, which is critical to human well-being.

Broad cooperation includes the International Union for Conservation of Nature (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which has about 1,400 member organizations, including countries; IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, and PLuS . Alliance Arizona State University, King’s College London and the University of New South Wales in Sydney; More than 100 scientists specialize in ecosystems around the world.

The study published in Nature, the science that underpins taxonomy, explores how it can help advance goals in global politics that flow into individual countries. With the support of the University of New South Wales, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has launched The first public version of the classification in 2020 Since then, researchers have revised and updated it.

Said the lead professor, lead author David Keith from the University of New South Wales Ecosystem Science Center.

“It may seem strange that we haven’t had this before, but historically scientists have made progress by working fairly separately in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. This is the first time all this detailed knowledge has been brought together in one framework to benefit of theory common across disciplines”.

Taxonomy allows us to understand broad global patterns, including the transformation of ecosystems by people. 10% of ecosystems are artificially created and maintained by humans but occupy more than 30% of the Earth’s surface – the rest being home to 94% of Earth’s endangered species. IUCN Red List.

The Red List of Species focuses on species as a conservation target. Franklin has been a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) New Red List Ecosystems (RLE) Scientific Advisory Committee since 2014. The purpose of the RLE is to identify entire ecosystems that are on the verge of collapse.

Franklin was part of the group that determined how to define ecosystems, and how to define standards. “I’ve worked on some descriptions of the ecosystems I know best.” Franklin has experience studying forests, savannas, and shrubs.

People have been defining ecosystems since the early 1800s Alexander von Humboldt, a German geographer and naturalist who said, “The most dangerous view of the world is that of those who have never looked at the world.” Through this study, scientists and geographers now define ecosystems by their ecological function – with attention to the physiology of plants and animals.

Franklin’s biggest takeaway, after more than three years in the business, had produced and published a complete taxonomy of the world’s ecosystems.

“We are now in a position to take the next step of treating ecosystems globally as units of conservation — really looking at the threats and transformations that ecosystems are undergoing in order to assess at scale and compare across regions to identify which ecosystems are on the edge,” she said. .

For governments and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) operating in a range of countries, the overview can be useful in making decisions about how ecosystem protection and restoration efforts will achieve the maximum benefit for conservation, and where best to develop infrastructure to minimize impact.

“Going forward — to project biodiversity losses within a changing ecosystem, we now have a tool for assessing worldwide risks and including them in the conservation agenda,” Franklin added.

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