COS 104-4
Global ecological land units and ecoinformatics

Thursday, August 13, 2015: 9:00 AM
324, Baltimore Convention Center
Roger Sayre, , USGS, Reston, VA, USA
Dawn J. Wright, , Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA, USA
Charlie Frye, , Esri, Redlands, CA, USA
Peter Aniello, , Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA, USA
Randy Vaughan, , Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA, USA
Sean Breyer, , Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA, USA
Background/Question/Methods

The development of standardized concepts for identifying and characterizing ecological entities, and the development of  associated data models, is a fundamental element of ecoinformatics. We have developed a new global ecological land units (ELUs) datalayer at a 250 m spatial resolution for use in a variety of applications including climate change impacts studies, assessments of economic and social value of ecosystem goods and services, biodiversity conservation planning, scientific research, and resource management.

Results/Conclusions

We mapped 3,923 ELUs as unique combinations of bioclimate, landform, lithology, and land cover. Unlike existing ecoregionalizations of the planet which are largely interpretive (expert-derived), the ELUs were derived from data, are largely objective (repeatable), and are highly systematic. They allow for cross-region and cross-continent comparisons of the ecological settings which control biotic distributions. We present a standardized conceptual framework for defining ecological land systems based on a contemplation of the major elements of terrestrial ecosystem structure. We describe a data model for representing these ELUs, and discuss the ecoinformatics dimension associated with the access, use, and dissemination of the data. Produced in a public/private collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey and Esri, the ELUs represent an increasingly popular “ mixed”  ecoinformatics approach which contemplates hosting of authorized data as Living Atlas content in Esri’s ArcGIS Online web-based GIS resource. The data architecture, data serving, and data curation aspects of our ecoinformatics approach are presented.