Identified rare or vulnerable ecological systems based on spatial analysis.
Promoted the use of ecological systems information in regional planning processes.
Map of Ecological Systems of Bolivia Click image to view a larger version
From the Glaciers of Argentina and Brazil's Pantanal to the Galapagos' Islands of Ecuador and Guatemala's Tikal National Park, Latin America is internationally known for its natural heritage. These and many other natural treasures make the region one of the most ecologically diverse on Earth. Yet, conservation of the region's species and habitats is challenged by limited resources, incomplete knowledge about the region's biodiversity and pressures such as development and population growth.
When the project began, several vegetation maps already existed for portions of the Andes-Amazon region, each developed using a different classification with varying detail and quality. This uneven coverage precluded consistent analysis across jurisdictions. A major outcome of our work was the production of a single, unified classification and detailed vegetation map covering the entire project area. This work was based on NatureServe's Ecological Systems of Latin America and the Caribbean, which has identified more than 750 ecological systems in the region.
The map covers upland and wetland ecological systems across most of the Amazon watershed in Peru and Bolivia, an area of about 1.25 million square kilometers. A total of 84 different ecological systems were identified and mapped using the NatureServe classification system. We characterized these ecological systems using satellite image interpretation, GIS modeling, existing maps, and extensive field surveys. Twenty technical staff from three institutions participated in field surveys and map production; 1,940 new field plots were sampled, yielding 15,000 herbarium specimens.
What is an Ecological System?
An ecological system is a group of plant community types that tend to co-occur within landscapes with similar ecological processes, substrates, and/or environmental gradients. Uses of ecological systems classification and mapping include:
Evaluating ecosystem conditions and trends over time.
Evaluating habitat representation in protected areas across jurisdictions.
Mapping ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and watershed conditions.
Effective, multi-site conservation planning and action across large regions.
Centro de Datos para la Conservación de la
Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Perú
Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), Perú