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The Africa portion of the Biogeographical Provinces of the World, which shows ecological or "Life Zones" within eight biogeographical realms of the world, was digitized from source documents by UNEP/GRID-Geneva as part of the UNEP/FAO Africa Database in 1986. This classification of biogeographical zones was proposed by Dr. Miklos Udvardy in his paper for IUCN and UNESCO in 1975, with intended use as a unified system for biogeographical and conservation purposes. Biogeographical realms are defined as continental or subcontinental-sized areas having unifying features of geography and fauna/flora/vegetation, and correspond to the terms "kingdom" for the florist and "region" for the faunist. Biogeographical provinces are defined as ecosystematic or biotic subdivisions of the realms (floral "regions" and faunal "provinces").
Biogeographical realms were established by Udvardy on the basis of geographic and historic elements, utilizing ground-breaking work as appears on this topic in the published literature. Udvardy's paper makes reference to at least three preceding reports on this topic, and also includes an extensive bibliography of five pages. There are 8 biogeographical realms recognized by Udvardy in Paper #18: the Palearctic, the Nearctic, the Afrotropical, the Indomalayan, the Oceanian, the Australian, the Antarctic and the Neotropical.
The Udvardy Biogeographical Provinces of Africa (Afrotropical "Life Zones") data set covers the entire African continent at a spatial resolution of two minutes (120 seconds) of latitude/longitude, or approximately 3.7 kilometers. The data file consists of 2191 rows (lines, records) by 2161 columns (elements, pixels, samples). Its origin (upper-left or northwest corner) is 38 degrees, 0 minutes and 45 seconds North latitude (38d 00' 45" N), and -20 degrees, 1 minute and 15 seconds West longitude (-20d 01' 15" W); it extends to -35 degrees, 1 minute and 15 seconds South latitude (-35d 01' 15" S), and 52 degrees, 0 minutes and 45 seconds East longitude (52d 00' 45" E) at the terminal point (lower-right or southeast corner). The data file comprises 4.74 Megabytes.
The proper reference for this data set is "Udvardy, Miklos D. F. 1975. A Classification of the Biogeographical Provinces of the World. IUCN Occasional Paper No. 18, prepared as a contribution to UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program, Project No. 8. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Morges (now Gland), Switzerland, 49 pages." A source citation should include IUCN, as digitized by UNEP/GRID in 1986.
GRID Class Udvardy No. Biogeographical Province __________ ___________ ________________________
1 3.1.1 Guinean Rain Forest 2 3.2.1 Congo Rain Forest 3 3.3.1 Malagasy Rain Forest 4 3.4.4 West African Woodland/savanna 5 3.5.4 East African Woodland/savanna 6 3.6.4 Congo Woodland/savanna 7 3.7.4 Miombo Woodland/savanna 8 3.8.4 South African Woodland/savanna 9 3.9.4 Malagasy Woodland/savanna 10 3.10.4 Malagasy Thorn Forest 11 3.11.6 Cape Sclerophyll 12 3.12.7 Western Sahel 13 3.13.7 Eastern Sahel 14 3.14.7 Somalian 15 3.15.7 Namib 16 3.16.7 Kalahari 17 3.17.7 Karroo 18 3.18.12 Ethiopian Highlands 19 3.19.12 Guinean Highlands * 20 3.20.12 Central African Highlands 21 3.21.12 East African Highlands 22 3.22.12 South African Highlands -- 3.23.13 Ascension and St. Helena Islands @ 24 3.24.13 Comores Islands and Aldabra + -- 3.25.13 Mascarene Islands @ 26 3.26.14 Lake Rudolf (Turkana) 27 3.27.14 Lake Victoria (Ukerewe) 28 3.28.14 Lake Tanganyika 29 3.29.14 Lake Malawi (Nyasa)
(The final three classes are from the Palearctic Realm:) 30 2.18.7 Sahara desert 31 2.17.7 Mediterranean Sclerophyll 32 2.28.11 Atlas Steppe
* - Includes island of Bioko (part of Equatorial Guinea). + - GRID version includes the country of Sao Tome & Principe, the Madeira Islands and most of the Canary Islands in this class. @ - GRID version does not include these island groups.
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