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Freshwater Ecoregions of the World, (FEOW) provides a new global biogeographic regionalization of the Earth's freshwater biodiversity. Covering virtually all freshwater habitats on Earth, this ecoregion map, together with associated species data, is a useful tool for underpinning global and regional conservation planning efforts, particularly to identify outstanding and imperiled freshwater systems; for serving as a logical framework for large-scale conservation strategies; and for providing a global-scale knowledge base for increasing freshwater biogeographic literacy.

Map description and dataset provided by: WWF United States

DescriptionFreshwater Ecoregions

Freshwater Ecoregions of the World (FEOW) is a collaborative project led by WWF and TNC that provides the first global biogeographic regionalization of the Earth's freshwater biodiversity, and synthesizes biodiversity and threat data for the resulting ecoregions. We define a freshwater ecoregion as a large area encompassing one or more freshwater systems that contains a distinct assemblage of natural freshwater communities and species. The freshwater species, dynamics, and environmental conditions within a given ecoregion are more similar to each other than to those of surrounding ecoregions and together form a conservation unit. A detailed description of the delineation methodology is available in Abell et al. (2008). Additional information is available at www.feow.org.


The freshwater ecoregion map encompasses 426 units, whose boundaries generally - though not always - correspond with those of watersheds (also known as drainage basins or catchments). Within individual ecoregions there will be turnover of species, such as when moving up or down a river system, but taken as a whole an ecoregion will typically have a distinct evolutionary history and/or ecological processes. Ecoregions are delineated based on the best available information, but data describing freshwater species and ecological processes are characterized by marked gaps and variation in quality, and improved information in the future may warrant map revisions.


The dataset for this map was provided by: Robin Abell, WWF United States



Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 69: Freshwater Ecoregions (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

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