A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems

Keith, David A
Ferrer-Paris, José R.
Nicholson, Emily
Bishop, Melanie J.
Polidoro, Beth A.
Ramirez-Llodra, Eva
Tozer, Mark G.
Nel, Jeanne L.
Mac Nally, Ralph
Gregr, Edward J.
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Springer Nature
As the United Nations develops a post-2020 global biodiversity framework for the Convention on Biological Diversity, attention is focusing on how new goals and targets for ecosystem conservation might serve its vision of ‘living in harmony with nature’. Advancing dual imperatives to conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem services requires reliable and resilient generalizations and predictions about ecosystem responses to environmental change and management3. Ecosystems vary in their biota4, service provision5 and relative exposure to risks6, yet there is no globally consistent classification of ecosystems that reflects functional responses to change and management. This hampers progress on developing conservation targets and sustainability goals. Here we present the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Ecosystem Typology, a conceptually robust, scalable, spatially explicit approach for generalizations and predictions about functions, biota, risks and management remedies across the entire biosphere. The outcome of a major cross-disciplinary collaboration, this novel framework places all of Earth’s ecosystems into a unifying theoretical context to guide the transformation of ecosystem policy and management from global to local scales. This new information infrastructure will support knowledge transfer for ecosystem-specific management and restoration, globally standardized ecosystem risk assessments, natural capital accounting and progress on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Nature, 2022, available online at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05318-4 . Keywords: biodiversity; conservation biology; ecosystem ecology;
Keith, D.A., Ferrer-Paris, J.R., Nicholson, E. et al. A function-based typology for Earth’s ecosystems. Nature 610, 513–518 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05318-4