Knowledge for Development

A new map of standardised terrestrial ecosystems of Africa

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Date: 02/07/2013

Introduction:

A set of new African continental maps was published in May 2013 by the Association of American Geographer (AAG) as a full-colour special supplement to the African Geographical Review. ‘A New Map of Standardized Terrestrial Ecosystems of Africa’ is the result of the efforts of a team of African and U.S. scientists, representing 37 experts from 18 countries who collaborated to produce the maps and ecosystems classification contained herein. To model the potential distribution of ecosystems, new continental datasets for several key physical environment datal ayers were developed at spatial and classification resolutions finer than existing similar data layers. A hierarchical vegetation classification was developed by African ecosystem scientists and vegetation geographers, who also provided sample locations of the newly classified vegetation units. The vegetation types and ecosystems were then mapped across the continent using a classification and regression tree inductive model, which predicted the potential distribution of vegetation types from a suite of biophysical environmental attributes including bioclimate region, biogeographic region, surficial lithology, landform, elevation and land cover.  

(AAG, 01/05/2013)

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