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1 Introduction

This section describes for each geographic region (Figure 32) the global Ecological Zones in terms of climate, physiography and vegetation. Vegetation descriptions focus on natural or potential vegetation, with information on physiognomy and (tree) flora. Few details are provided on current land use. Maps and tables show the distribution of the Ecological Zones by region and the area statistics are summarized in Appendix III-1.

Various regional scientists/experts compiled or contributed to the GEZ descriptions:

North and Central America: Harry Hirvonen of the Canadian Forest Service, Luis Morales of the National University of Mexico, Vicente Watson of the Tropical Science Center, Costa Rica.

South America, Africa and Tropical Asia: Marie-France Bellan of LET, France

China: Zhiliang Zhu of EDC, United States.

Europe: Christoph Hettwer of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Germany.

Former Soviet Union: Anatoly Shvidenko of IIASA, Austria.

Australia: Phlip Tickle of BRS, Australia

The GEZ descriptions were complemented and edited by the author.

Figure 32. Geographic regions of the world

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