GEO BON aims to identify Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), of which a category is Ecosystem Function. This effort developed a classification of Ecosystem Functional Types (EFTs), to characterize the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of ecosystem functioning (regardless of similarities or differences in ecosystem structure), based on areas of the land surface that process energy and matter in similar ways, and potentially show coordinated responses to environmental factors. This project is focused on the terrestrial ecosystems of the arctic tundra.

Key Highlights Include:

  • Implemented a procedure to map Ecosystem Functional Types (EFTs) for the circumpolar Arctic tundra, based on similarities in the seasonal dynamics of the MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Results suggest a wide range of variability in ecosystem function, even with individual Arctic tundra subzones, as defined by the Circumpolar Arctic Tundra Vegetation (CAVM) map.
  • Project variables Ecosystem Functional Types (EFTs) and Ecosystem Functional Diversity (EFD) have been peer-reviewed and submitted to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and for the UN System of Environmental-Economic Account. These variables are of particular interest to stakeholders and end users at GEO BON, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, and the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program.
  • Developed a new water mask (MODIS) within Google Earth Engine that is useful for areas with substantial coverage of permanent and ephemeral surface water (such as the Arctic) and recalculated the Ecosystem Functional Types for the Circumpolar Arctic.

This project is linked to the Regional BON: Arctic BON