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Ecological land classification

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Title: Ecological land classification  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: WikiProject Ecoregions/Ecoregions : another way to see the World, Biogeography, Ecozones, Ecoprovince, Physiotope
Collection: Biogeography, Biology Terminology, Classification Systems, Ecoregions, Ecosystems, Environmental Terminology, Habitat
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ecological land classification

Ecological land classification is a cartographical delineation of distinct ecological areas, identified by their geology, topography, soils, vegetation, climate conditions, living species, habitats, water resources, as well as anthropic factors (corroborated by ref).[1] These factors control and influence biotic composition and ecological processes.


  • Types 1
  • Hierarchy of classification levels in ecology compared to other fields 2
    • WWF system 2.1
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Footnotes 4.1
  • External links 5


Many different lists and ecological land classification schemes have been developed.[2][3]

In Canada ecological land classification schemes are commonly used. Provincial authorities have adopted methods to classify ecosystems within various ecoregions of the province. Ontario is one such province that uses an extensive method to define ecological units. Improvements in hand held technology have allowed for more efficient collection of vegetation and physiological data in the field, such as with the ELC eTool.

Hierarchy of classification levels in ecology compared to other fields

This classification table shows the parallel classification terms in similar spatial scales used in the study of the biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems and the Earth.

From largest at top to the smallest at bottom the classification levels are:
Biotic Abiotic
ecosphere biosphere zoosphere phytosphere physiosphere geosphere pedosphere
ecozone biome zoozone (zoogeographic region) [4][5] floristic kingdom
ecoregion bioregion zooregion floristic region physioregion georegion pedoregion
ecoprovince bioprovince zooprovince[6] floristic province geoprovince
ecodistrict biodistrict floristic sector
ecosection biosection floristic district
ecosite biosite
ecotope (ecosystem sensu stricto?) biotope zootope phytotope physiotope geotope pedotope
ecoelement bioelement geoelement
Sources: ‡ These words are all loanwords from German science.

WWF system

See also


  • Klijn, F., and H. A. Udo De Haes. 1994. "A hierarchical approach to ecosystems and its implications for ecological land classification." In: Landscape Ecology vol. 9 no. 2 pp 89–104 (1994). The Hague, SPB Academic Publishing bv.
  • Gregorich, E. G., and et al. "Soil and Environmental Science Dictionary." Canadian ecological land classification system, pp 111 (2001). Canadian Society of Soil Science. CRC Press LLC. ISBN 0-8493-3115-3.


  1. ^ Kellogg, Charles (February 1933). "A Method for the Classification of Rural Lands for Assessment in Western North Dakota". The Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics 9 (1): 12. 
  2. ^ Part of the list proposed below is inspired by Miklos Udvardy classification of the Biographical Provinces in the World which was prepared by Unesco's Man and the Biosphere program, published in 1975 and updated in 1982.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "faunal region". 
  5. ^ "Zoogeographical Region". 
  6. ^

External links

  • Ecoregions and Ecosites
  • Example of ecological land classification in British Columbia (Canada)
  • EcoSim Software Inc ELC eTool
  • International Association for Vegetation Scientists (IAVS) - Vegetation Classification Methods
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