February 8, 2024

How to use an ecoregion page

So you’re off and running, ready to make a difference to the ecoregion you love! Below we outline a bit of a crash-course in how to get the most out of an ecoregion page.

The facts

The first section of an ecoregion page is printed atop a Creative Commons image of a typical example of the ecoregion of choice. There is a small map in the top right corner showing the global distribution of the ecoregion too. Credits for both the image and the map are in the bottom right corner of this section.

The full name of the ecoregion is found top left, under which are the countries this ecoregion occurs in, and a short description of the ecoregion’s character. 

Then, you’ll see two logos:

  • The WWF Panda – to the right of the panda is a scale bar from ‘Least Concern’ on the right (an ecoregion intact) to ‘Extinct’ on the left (an ecoregion that has functionally collapsed in its natural or semi-natural state). This shows the level of threat the World Wildlife Fund has examined this ecoregion to be under. To the right of the scale bar is a percentage which is the approximate amount of the ecoregion legally secured in protected areas according to the WWF.
  • The IUCN – to the right of the IUCN logo is a scale bar from ‘Least Concern’ on the right (an ecoregion intact) to ‘Extinct’ on the left (an ecoregion that has functionally collapsed in its natural or semi-natural state). This shows the level of threat the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has examined this ecoregion to be under. To the right of the scale bar is a list of unique ecosystems that occur within this ecoregion that have been assessed by the IUCN. These are clickable links. If this IUCN information is missing, it means the IUCN has not yet carried out evaluations of ecosystems within this ecoregion (or that we haven’t caught up with them yet!) 

Finally, at the very bottom (below the scale bars) you’ll see the categories ‘Size’, ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ and ‘Top 3 Threats’. These show the overall size of the ecoregion, whether any world heritage sites exist within the ecoregion and the most threatening processes affecting the ecoregion as a whole, respectively. Both UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Top 3 Threats are clickable links.

Act - what can you DO?

The second section (the green section) of an ecoregion page shows what you can actually do to support the unique ecoregion you’ve chosen.

This is the fun part!

  • Visit – at the top of the list are protected areas to visit such as national parks, conservation areas and reserves that have public access and provide outstanding examples of the ecoregion in its natural or semi-natural state.
  • Volunteer – how to take part through volunteering. We’ve selected some choice volunteer groups ranging from government-run to grassroots communities, that you can sign up to, and take part in, to conserve your ecoregion.
  • Products – this list, categorised by product type, shows companies that are tipping at least 1% of their profits back into localised conservation or are engaging in sustainable or regenerative practises within the ecoregion they’re based.
  • Services – similarly to above, these services are run by companies that are tipping at least 1% of their profits back into localised conservation or are engaging in sustainable or regenerative practises within the ecoregion they’re based.
  • Donate – as the name suggests, this section shows charities or community-run organisations who you can make a donation to in order to support and advance their work in conserving your chosen ecoregion.
  • Events – events you can attend to learn more about your ecoregion, sustainable living in your ecoregion and taking action for conservation.
  • Learn – resources from blogs to websites to films to podcasts, where you can learn more about taking action for ecoregions.

The links are all clickable if they are green-underlined.

The next part of the green section shows you some ways of making a difference at home through every-day choices and behaviours. 

Links in this part of the ‘Act’ section are clickable if they are green-underlined, and should take you to a downloadable PDF factsheet helping you take steps at home for each action.

The final part of the green section shows you some ways of making a difference in your garden by planting native plants that look amazing, are easy to grow, and perform important relationships with your ecoregion.

Learn - what can you KNOW?

Once you feel more empowered about some of the things you can do for nature in your ecoregion, why not do a little exploring of its defining features?

The third and final section (the white section) of an ecoregion page shows off the ecoregion’s best bits (in our opinion!) and help you learn more about it.

First up is a more comprehensive description of the ecoregion and its characteristics. 

Then, we divide the ecoregion into three parts based on the Noss (1990) schematic of the major components of biodiversity:

  • Ecoregion Structure – at the top of this section we demonstrate what forms the ecoregion based on its non-living and living structures. If you think of an ecoregion as a family home, this would be the house itself. You can discover geology and climate, iconic landscapes that are the pinnacle of geological and evolutionary processes taking place in the ecoregion and a presentation of dominant plant communities based on the Specht (1970) vegetation classification (scenes designed by @blueringmedia).
  • Ecoregion Composition – in the middle of this section we demonstrate what forms the ecoregion based on the diversity of life within it. Using the same family home analogy, this would be the family inside the house and how they all vary from one another. You can discover keystone species (those that carry out important roles in the web-of-life in your ecoregion), flagship species (those that are rare, threatened and/or charismatic and therefore carry an important conservation message for the ecoregion) and formally-listed extinct species (those that have been wiped out due to recent human activities (since 1800)).
  • Ecoregion Function – at the bottom of this section we show what forms the ecoregion based on how it all works together. Using the family home analogy again, this would be how the family inside the house all work with (or against!) each other and the house itself. Here, you can see a description of keystone relationships; how one of the keystone species introduced above carries out its important role, and why it matters. In some cases, we’ve provided an animation to demonstrate this important role, thanks to our team of fantastic animators! Finally, we provide a carousel of important life-support systems (or ecosystem services) that your ecoregion provides to you, and everyone else living in it, for free!

The links are all clickable if green-underlined.

So that’s it! 

We hope this helps explain some of the logic and method behind our project, and helps you to get more of a sense of passion and ownership over knowing more about, and doing more for, your ecoregion!

Enjoy!

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