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TERN/5c427d8b-e5c4-43f3-9a20-71cbd6d5c6c6 23048

GEOSS Ecosystem Mapping for Australia


The physical drivers of ecosystem formation – macroclimate, lithology and landform – along with vegetation structural formations are key determinants of current ecosystem type. Each combination of these ecosystem drivers – each ‘ecological facet’ – provides a unique set of opportunities and challenges for life.
Management and conservation should seek to understand and take in to account these drivers of ecosystem formation. By understanding the unique combinations of these drivers management strategies can plan for their full range of variation, and conservation efforts can ensure that unique ecosystems are not lost. Unfortunately, there is currently no Australia-wide standardized map of ecological facets at management-appropriate scales.
By understanding the magnitude and distribution of unique combinations of these drivers, management strategies can plan for their full range of variation, and conservation efforts can ensure that unique ecosystems are not lost. Additionally, by improving our understanding of the past and present conditions that have given rise to current ecological facets this dataset could facilitate future predictive environmental modelling. Finally, this data could assisting biodiversity conservation, climate change impact studies and mitigation, ecosystem services assessment, and development planning
Further information about the dataset can be found at GEOSS Ecosystem Map,TERN Knowledge Base .

This work was funded through TERN Landscapes. TERN is Australia’s land-based ecosystem observatory delivering data streams to enable environmental research and management (TERN, TERN is part of Australia’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS,

TERN GEOSS Ecosystem Mapping for Australia aimed to map ecological facets for continental Australia, using methods modelled after similar prior mapping at continental and global scales, but with modifications for Australia. Each of the three major factors driving ecosystem formation – macroclimate, lithology and landform – were captured with one or two spatial indicators. Finally major vegetation structural formations were mapped and combined with the indicators of ecosystem formation to produce ‘ecological facets’.
Outcomes: The ultimate goal of this work was the production of the Ecological facets data product. These ecological facets allow for a better understanding of the current range of biophysical variation within and across Australian ecosystems. However, it is anticipated that for many applications the precursor spatial indicators will be more useful by themselves.

Temporal coverage

From 1976-01-01 To 2016-01-01


  • Date modified


Citation information

How to cite this collection:

Clarke, K., Lewis, M. (2021): GEOSS Ecosystem Mapping for Australia. Version 1.0.0. Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network. (Dataset).

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Rights and Licensing

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

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