Table 4

Biome maps of South America

Biome map

Source publication

Primary data used

1st tier

2nd tier

3rd tier

4th tier

Label

No. of classes

Label

No. of classes

Label

No. of classes

Label

No. of classes


Latin American Biogeography Scheme

(LAB)

[30]

Geography, and secondarily species composition and endemism

Dominions

2

Regions

3

Subregions

8

Provinces

55

Americas Basemap

(AB)

[29]

Species composition and endemism

Biomes

6

Vegetation zones

22

Vegetation types

73

polygons

597

WWF Ecoregions

(ECO)

[16]

Species endemism, but landform used as primary data in areas lacking widely used biogeographic maps e.g. South America

Biomes

111

-

-

Ecoregions

117

polygons

3,311

Land cover map

(LCM)

[17]

Remote sensing and elevation

Biomes

8

-

-

Land cover classes

65

polygons

71,153

Ecological Systems Map

(ESM)

[31]

Climate, elevation, geology, land cover, and landform data

Domains

3

Divisions

22

Ecological systems

604

polygons

285,0002


Comparison of the available biome maps for South America. The hierarchical division of each biome map is shown, followed by the number of headings under each division. The number of headings includes areas within South America only, although some schemes extend to Central and North America. Human made habitats (e.g. urban areas, agricultural land) and barren areas (e.g. water, ice, and snow) were excluded from the comparison where possible. Tiers above continental scale (e.g. realms) are not shown.

1 Total number of terrestrial biomes in WWF Ecoregion map is 14 but some of the major biomes not found within South America.

2 Shape layers for the individual ecological systems are not available yet for the whole of South America. The number of polygons given is the current estimate. The currently available map is divided into 604 polygons.

Särkinen et al. BMC Ecology 2011 11:27   doi:10.1186/1472-6785-11-27

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