Ecoregions: We define ecoregions as relatively large units of land containing a distinct assemblage of natural communities and species, with boundaries that approximate the original extent of natural communities prior to major land-use change. They are classified within a system familiar to all biologists—biogeographic realms and biomes. Ecoregions, representing distinct biotas (Dasmann 1973, 1974,Udvardy 1975), are nested within the biomes and realms and, together, these provide a framework for comparisons among units and the identification of representative habitats and species assemblages.
This new map offers a depiction of the 846 ecoregions that represent our living planet. Ecoregions are ecosystems of regional extent. These are color coded on this map to highlight their distribution and the biological diversity they represent. This new map is based on recent advances in biogeography - the science concerning the distribution of plants and animals. The original ecoregions map has been widely used since its introduction in 2001, underpinning the most recent analyses of the effects of global climate change on nature by ecologists to the distribution of the world's beetles to modern conservation planning. In the same vein, our updated ecoregions can now be used to chart progress towards achieving the visionary goal of Nature Needs Half, to protect half of all the land on Earth to save a living terrestrial biosphere.