The entire planet’s ecosystems have been classified for the first time


تصنيف النظم البيئية للكوكب بأكمله لأول مرة: دراسة

Landscape and marine relationships of ecosystem functional groups. Left, a sample of Ecosystem Functional Groups (EFGs) from the Global Ecosystem Taxonomy distributed across a hypothetical tropical landscape and marine landscape. On the right, the total number of ecosystem functional groups (colored boxes) within each domain and the functional biome listed (the ecosystem functional groups shown on the left are represented by white dots). Multidimensional environmental gradients—three examples presented: temperature, intensity of human use, and availability of light and nutrients—affect the strength and spatial expression of environmental drivers (resources, ambient environment, disturbance systems, biotic interactions and human activity) across landscapes and seascapes, and thus relationships Spatial types of ecosystems. attributed to him: temper nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-05318-4

A global, multidisciplinary team led by University of New South Wales researchers in Sydney has developed the world’s first comprehensive taxonomy 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 (IUCN), which has about 1,400 member organizations, including countries; IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management; PLuS Alliance – Arizona State University, King’s College London and University of New South Wales in Sydney; More than 100 scientists specialize in ecosystems around the world.

The study, published today in temper nature, explores the science behind taxonomy, as well as how it can help advance goals in global politics that flow to individual countries. With the support of the University of New South Wales, the IUCN released the first public version of the classification in 2020, and since then researchers have revised and updated it.

The research team was led by Professor David Keith with Professor Richard Kingsford from the University of New South Wales Center for Ecosystem Sciences, and Professor Emily Nicholson from Deakin University.

“For the first time, we have a common platform that identifies, defines and describes the full range of ecosystems for the entire planet,” said Professor Keith.

“It may seem strange that we’ve never 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. It makes use of theory common across disciplines.”

Taxonomy allows us to understand broad global patterns, including the transformation of ecosystems by people. Ten percent of ecosystems are artificially created and maintained by humans but occupy more than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface – the rest being home to 94 percent of threatened species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

On a policy level, Professor Kingsford said, this is the first time we are getting this kind of overview.

“It’s very difficult to see the big picture on a jigsaw puzzle until you have all the pieces in place – that’s what we have now. We have a more fundamental basis for moving forward into a new era of ecosystem conservation and management policy.”

On a more general level, the overview allows policy makers and industry to plan their initiatives in a full context. 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.

“Efforts to conserve biodiversity have largely focused on the species level, because it is seen as more tangible,” said Professor Keith. “But a broader focus on both ecosystems and species is more likely to succeed in preserving all plants and animals, as well as the essential services that nature provides to people.”

Globally, countries are coordinating their efforts under the umbrella of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is due for renewal at the end of 2022. Delegates from 193 countries will gather in December at the 15th Conference of the Parties in Montreal, Canada, to agree on a post-2020 agenda. for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Preparations for this meeting indicate a stronger focus on ecosystem conservation and management in the coming decades.

Professor Nicholson said: “Global ecosystem taxonomy will make it possible to account for ongoing ecosystem change, identify threatened ecosystem types, and plan better preventative and restoration actions within the framework of a renewed CBD agenda.”

Dr. Angela Andrade, chair of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management and one of the authors, said the classification represents a breakthrough for the sustainable management of the world’s ecosystems.

“It will enable real progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and environmental accounting, and should help put ecosystems at the forefront of the post-2020 United Nations agenda for biodiversity conservation.”

To make this a reality, Professor Keith said, we need a full set of high-quality maps of all major types of ecosystems.

“We are already on the right track, but we need help to overcome significant challenges by exploiting recent advances in computer and satellite technology, along with global networks of citizen scientists.”

Ecosystem classification

Ecosystems provide homes and vital life support for all plants and animals, and provide essential ecosystem services that support business, culture, and human well-being. These services—such as providing clean air and clean water, sequestering carbon, reducing disaster risk and mental health outdoor recreation opportunities—are sometimes viewed as free, but ecosystem degradation causes costs to tap into alternative resources, and disaster relief. and reconstruction, and for health budgets.

All of the world’s ecosystems exhibit the hallmarks of human influence, and many are exposed to acute risks of collapse, with consequences for species’ habitats, genetic diversity, ecosystem services, sustainable development, and human well-being.

Global Ecosystem Taxonomy describes the diversity of tropical forests, large rivers, coral reefs, and other ecosystems that have traditionally been the focus of public attention. But it also includes unknown ecosystems from deep-ocean trenches, seamounts, lakes under ice sheets, and microscopic ecosystems within rocks.

“We don’t think much about what’s in the deep ocean, for example,” Professor Keith said. “There is a tremendous diversity of life out there and it is organized into a number of different ecosystems. Those ecosystems are beginning to feel the impact of human expansion.

“Deep trenches in the ocean are filling up with microplastics, and we’re starting to look for volcanic mines for minerals. We need to make decisions about these types of environments, just as we do about coral reefs and rainforests.”

hierarchical structure

The new classification has a six-level hierarchical structure. The upper level divides the planet into major worlds, including terrestrial, freshwater, marine and subterranean ecosystems. The second and third levels include 25 biomes and 110 ecosystem functional groups, based on the ecological processes that make up different ecosystems and the functions performed by their main components. These functional groups will establish a framework for sustainable management schemes for the ecosystem.

The lower levels of the hierarchy are based on better features of the ecosystem and enable the integration of existing national classifications. These national ecosystem classifications and maps benefit from detailed scientific observations and significant investments over many years.

They are essential for conservation because many countries have built governance and ecosystems around them, as well as their own protected area networks. For the first time, a globally agreed classification makes it possible to reconcile these many different systems across national borders, while supporting their continued use in each country.

What are the next steps?

Professor Keith said the next major frontier for improving ecosystem management is the creation of global maps and monitoring.

“Although many of the world’s 110 species of ecosystems are already rendered with high-quality, updatable maps using satellite technology, data for some other species is still rudimentary.”

“We cannot effectively plan where to protect ecosystems or how to manage them sustainably unless we have reliable maps of the full range of ecosystem types, and integrate them into decision-making and monitoring systems,” he said.


Informing future conservation priorities for tropical Andean ecosystems


more information:
David Keith, A Function-Based Taxonomy of Earth’s Ecosystems, temper nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-05318-4

Presented by the University of New South Wales

the quote: The entire planet’s ecosystems were first categorized (2022, Oct 12), on Oct 12, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-entire-planet-ecosystems.html

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