The Global Ecosystem Explorer provides visualization and feature identification of continental and global ecosystems data.
Ecological Land Units (ELUs) were generated globally based on an approach to stratify the Earth into physically distinct areas with their associated land cover, reconciled into a standard 250-meter raster framework.
Terrestrial Ecosystems for the United States, Africa and South America were mapped by delineating physically distinct areas as the fundamental structural units and subsequently labeling these into the appropriate ecosystem classification.
Bioclimates for the United States, Africa and South America were generated by combining the thermotypes (warm/cold) and ombrotype (dry/wet gradients) climate classes produced from the Rivas-Martínez method based on the concept of a quantifiable classification system which would closely relate the distribution of vegetation to climatic parameters and indices.
Land Surface Forms for the United States and Africa were generated based on the methodology developed by the Missouri Resource Assessment Partnership (MoRAP) that made modifications to Hammond's land surface form classification. In South America they were produced by mosaicing the Eastern South America Division (ESA) General Landforms dataset and the Southern South America (SSA) General Landforms dataset. Both of these South American landform datasets were modeled from SRTM DEM data, WWF modeled hydrology data, global lakes and wetlands data, and detailed geology data.
Surficial Lithology for the United States, Africa and South America was derived from the appropriate existing geology and/or surficial materials data for each country. This existing data was generalized and reclassified as needed to derive the set of lithologies that typically control or influence the distribution of vegetation types.
Topograhic Position for the United States was derived to help contribute substrate moisture regimes and was based on the derivation of ground moisture potential using a combination of computed topographic characteristics and mapped inland water body boundaries.