A global ecological zoning (GEZ) map and database has been developed for the “Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000” (FRA 2000) conducted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The underlying strategy for FRA’s ecological zoning closely reflects both the thematic and technical requirements of the map and the many operational constraints for implementation. Characteristics and components of the FAO EZ classification include the use of the Köppen-Trewartha system (1968), with some modifications, in combination with vegetation characteristics as a basis for the delineation of zones. A key event in the development of the map was the Cambridge expert consultation, July 1999, where the concepts and proposed classification system were discussed, amendments made and a final classification system adopted. The GEZ classification system has a hierarchic structure: at the broadest level 5 domains are distinguished and at the second level 20 global Ecological Zones. The mapping work was carried out principally using regional or national “potential vegetation” maps to define boundaries of Ecological Zones at the global level. Regional experts and scientists provided support and advice. Although using a variety of map inputs inevitably provoked methodological problems such as edge matching across adjacent maps, a protocol for correcting such problems was successfully developed and implemented. In addition to the global EZ map regional descriptions were prepared on vegetation, climate and physiography of the Ecological Zones. The report is divided into three sections:
• Part I presents the GEZ classification framework;
• Part II explains how the map was developed; and
• Part III contains the descriptions of the GEZ for each region.