The IPBES Units of Analysis result from subdividing the Earth’s surface into units solely for the purposes of analysis. The following have been identified as IPBES units of analysis globally:

Terrestrial:

  • Tropical and subtropical dry and humid forests
  • Temperate and boreal forests and woodlands
  • Mediterranean forests, woodlands and scrub
  • Tundra and High Mountain habitats
  • Tropical and subtropical savannas and grasslands
  • Temperate Grasslands
  • Deserts and xeric shrublands
  • Wetlands – peatlands, mires, bogs
  • Urban/Semi-urban
  • Cultivated areas (incl. cropping, intensive livestock farming etc.)

Aquatic, including both marine and freshwater:

  • Cryosphere
  • Aquaculture areas
  • Inland surface waters and water bodies/freshwater
  • Shelf ecosystems (neritic and intertidal/littoral zone)
  • Open ocean pelagic systems (euphotic zone)
  • Deep-Sea
  • Coastal areas intensively used for multiple purposes by humans

These IPBES terrestrial and aquatic units of analysis serve as a framework for comparison within and across assessments and represent a pragmatic solution. The IPBES terrestrial and aquatic units of analysis are not intended to be prescriptive for other purposes than those of IPBES assessments. They are likely to evolve as the work of IPBES develops.