USGS ecosystems


This map contains the terrestrial ecosystems in the conterminous United States developed during a United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) global ecosystems mapping effort. Terrestrial ecosystem distribution mapping used a geospatial mapping methodology based on a deductive, biophysical stratification approach to delineate ecosystems by their major structural elements (Sayre and others, 2009). First major ecosystem structural components were modeled (bioclimates, land surface forms, surficial lithology and topographic moisture position) and spatially combined to produce a new set of biophysical settings, termed ecosystem structural footprints, to characterize the abiotic (physical) potential of the environment. Aggregation of the unique structural footprints into the terrestrial ecosystems classification developed by NatureServe was the final step (Comer and others, 2003). 


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