The conservation and management of ecosystems has never been more central to the future of biodiversity and human well-being on Earth. The Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals mandate global action that depends on ecosystem assessment. Rapidly developing information infrastructure to support these global policy initiatives includes the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EEA), listing criteria for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA), among several other initiatives. All of these require a standardised, globally consistent, spatially explicit typology and terminology for managing the world’s ecosystems and their services.
IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management is leading a global initiative to develop a new functional typology for the world’s ecosystems. The new typology integrates both ecosystem functions and compositional features. It therefore will help identify the ecosystems most critical to biodiversity conservation and supply of ecosystem services, as well as those at greatest risk of collapse, informing sustainable ecosystem management into the future. It will provide a comprehensive and consistent global framework for reporting on post-2020 CBD targets, SDGs, natural capital accounting, as well as structuring global risk assessments for the Red List of Ecosystems.
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