Forest Resources Assessment WP 26

FRA 2000

Global ecological zones mapping

Workshop Report
Cambridge, 28-30 July 1999

Rome, 2000

The Forest Resources Assessment Programme

Forests are crucial for the well-being of humanity. They provide foundations for life on earth through ecological functions, by regulating the climate and water resources, and by serving as habitats for plants and animals. Forests also furnish a wide range of essential goods such as wood, food, fodder and medicines, in addition to opportunities for recreation, spiritual renewal and other services.

Today, forests are under pressure from expanding human populations, which frequently leads to the conversion or degradation of forests into unsustainable forms of land use. When forests are lost or severely degraded, their capacity to function as regulators of the environment is also lost, increasing flood and erosion hazards, reducing soil fertility, and contributing to the loss of plant and animal life. As a result, the sustainable provision of goods and services from forests is jeopardized.

FAO, at the request of the member nations and the world community, regularly monitors the world’s forests through the Forest Resources Assessment Programme. The next report, the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000), will review the forest situation by the end of the millennium. FRA 2000 will include country-level information based on existing forest inventory data, regional investigations of land-cover change processes, and a number of global studies focusing on the interaction between people and forests. The FRA 2000 report will be made public and distributed on the world wide web in the year 2000.

The Forest Resources Assessment Programme is organized under the Forest Resources Division (FOR) at FAO headquarters in Rome. Contact persons are:

Robert Davis FRA Programme Coordinator [email protected]

Peter Holmgren FRA Project Director [email protected]

or use the e-mail address: [email protected]


The Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) Working Paper Series is designed to reflect the activities and progress of the FRA Programme of FAO. Working Papers are not authoritative information sources – they do not reflect the official position of FAO and should not be used for official purposes. Please refer to the FAO forestry website ( for access to official information.

The FRA Working Paper Series provides an important forum for the rapid release of preliminary FRA 2000 findings needed for validation and to facilitate the final development of an official quality-controlled FRA 2000 information set. Should users find any errors in the documents or have comments for improving their quality they should contact either Robert Davis or Peter Holmgren at [email protected].

Paper compiled by: Susan Iremonger and Heather Cross, World Conservation Monitoring Centre – On behalf of FAO
Editorial production: Patrizia Pugliese


CEC Commission for Environmental Cooperation
CIFOR Center for International Forestry Research
CIS Central Independent States (former Soviet Union states)
COFO FAO’s Committee on Forestry
DEM Digital Elevation Model
DFID Department of International Development, UK
EDC EROS Data Center of United States Geological Survey
EFZ Eco Floristic Zones
ERDAS (Not an acronym – GIS software manufacturer)
EROS Data Center Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center of United States Geological Survey (see EDC above)
ESRI Arc/Info GIS Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. Arc/Info GIS (software)
ETC/NC European Topic Centre/Nature Conservation
EZ Ecological Zone
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FIRS Forest Information from Remote Sensing
FRA 2000 Forest Resources Assessment 2000
IBGE Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia E Estatística
IIASA International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
IPF United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Forests
IUCN The World Conservation Union
LET Laboratoire d’Ecologie Terrestre (Toulouse)
NGO Non-Governmental Organizations
NOAA AVHRR National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration AVHRR (Remote Sensing Technique)
UN/ECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
UN-ECE Geneva see UN/ECE
UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme
UNESCO MAB United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Man and Biosphere
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
USDA FS United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (subsumed into USFS)
USFS United States Forest Service
USGS United States Geological Survey
WCMC World Conservation Monitoring Centre
WWF-UK World Wide Fund for Nature - United Kingdom
WWF-US World Wide Fund for Nature - United States



Executive Summary

1 Introduction

2 Opening remarks and scheduled presentations
2.1 Scheduled presentations
2.2 Points raised in Plenary Discussions after the scheduled presentations

3 Working Group Sessions and subsequent discussions
3.1 Guidelines for working Groups
3.2 Working Group reports
3.2.1 Report from the Working group on Australia and China
3.2.2 Report from the Working group on Tropical Regions
3.2.3 Report from Working group on Europe, Russia and North America
3.3 Review of the results of the Working Group sessions, and plenary discussions

4 Conclusions and follow-up

Appendix 1: Participants List

Appendix 2 : Agenda

Appendix 3: Presentation notes, tables and figures
3.1 Henk Simons: "The FRA 2000 Global Ecological Zone Map: Building on the FRA 1990 experience"
3.2 Susan Iremonger: " Review of existing Global Ecological Zoning systems”
3.3 Karn Deo Singh: "The Global/ Regional Ecological Zone Classification Concept and Definition".
3.4 Zhiliang Zhu and Brad Smith : "The Case Study of North America using the Proposed System"

Appendix 4: Background document - "A Concept and strategy for Ecological Zoning for the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000"

Appendix 5: A study on the eco-geographic regional system of China

FRA Working Papers

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