This data set shows ecoregions, which are ecosystems of regional extent, for the continents. Four levels of detail are included to show a hierarchy of ecosystems:
The largest ecosystems are domains, which are groups of related climates and which are differentiated based on precipitation and temperature.
Divisions represent the climates within domains and are differentiated based on precipitation levels and patterns as well as temperature.
Divisions are subdivided into provinces, which are differentiated based on vegetation or other natural land covers.
The finest level of detail is described by subregions, called sections, which are subdivisions of provinces based on terrain features. Also identified are mountainous areas that exhibit different ecological zones based on elevation.
ARC/INFO export files:
ArcView Shapefile (3.5MB compressed)
Ecoregions of the Continents (12.5MB compressed, jpeg, 5K x 3.2K pixels)
The continental ecoregions map has been reprojected to geodetic coordinates (lat/long) at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and GIS data sets are available here.