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US State Ecoregion Maps, New Footer, Ecoregion Article Progress, and References

September 19th, 2019 by Alex Zorach

We are pleased to announce a number of different types of progress that we've made over the past several weeks, including publishing US State Ecoregion Maps, a new site footer, completion of more ecoregion articles, and a reference system on articles.

US State Ecoregion Maps

Although we've had maps of the ecoregions themselves since July, we more recently published ecoregion maps of all lower 48 U.S. states. The maps show an outline of county boundaries to help people place the regions relative to familiar borders.

The map of Pennsylvania is particularly illustrative of what these maps offer:



You can easily access a list of all these maps through the site's new footer.

A New Footer

At the bottom of each page on the site, you can see our new footer. The footer provides one-click access to key pages of the site, including the state ecoregion maps and the ecoregion locator (that looks up the regions for a town, address, or point on a map). The footer displays as columns on desktop browsers and collapses into rows on small mobile devices.

The bottom row contains links to our social media accounts, which right now is just Facebook, but we will add others over time. The footer has ample room for more links as we continue developing the site.

Progress on Completing Ecoregion Articles

As there are 181 level 3 ecoregions in North America and 967 level 4 ecoregions in the continental U.S., completing articles on these is a huge amount of work. However, we've made significant progress. As of today, we have written 100 articles on the level 4 regions and 32 on the level 3 regions. We also have articles on all level 1 and 2 regions. This places us at over 17% done with level 3 regions and over 10% done with level 4 regions.

State-wise, our articles for every region in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are complete, and we are close to completing Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and New England. We have initially focused on regions near the mid-Atlantic region where we are located, but we plan to turn soon to also cover the ecoregions near major population centers throughout North America, as our site has been growing and attracting interest and viewers from all over.

A Reference System on Articles

If you check the articles, you will find that they now contain a list of one or more references. This is part of a new reference system that we have developed; this system is also integrated into our whole site, so sources can be seamlessly added to plant articles and other pages of the site.

The reference system is designed so that individual references can be modified or updated and the changes will automatically be reflected on all pages of the site. The system can also automatically-generate citations from standard formats used by most peer-reviewed journals, which will make this aspect of our site more efficient to maintain.

We also have a footnote system under development, to produce clickable in-text citations.

The references serve multiple purposes:
  • Showing people they can trust our articles - Unreferenced work can be dangerous in its potential to spread falsehoods. The references provide a way for people to know where our information comes from and verify it in the original sources.
  • Pointing people to further research - In many cases, the referenced work is much more extensive than our brief summary articles, and it in turn references massive volumes of literature. The references thus give a starting point to people who wish to dive into a subject in more depth.
  • Giving credit - The work we have done with our ecoregion maps and articles is not so much new or original research, as it is a new way of presenting and summarizing research and work that was carried out by numerous others over a period of many years. We want to credit these people and draw attention to their contributions.
  • Helping people sort out or track down inaccurate or disputed info - No research is perfect, and there are numerous errors and inconsistencies in the body of written work describing plants and ecoregions. By showing where our information comes from, we hope to make it easier to detect and resolve these errors and inconsistencies.
The system is also built so that in the long-run, it will be easy to conduct searches of references by author, title, or publication, and also pull up lists of which articles on our site reference which sources.

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support!

Our site has been live for a little over 8 months now, and is still incomplete, yet we've already seen huge outpourings of engagement, enthusiasm, and support on social media. This is encouraging, as our biggest purpose and goal is to help the information we are publishing reach as large an audience as possible, so that we can ultimately help restore and protect our ecosystems.

Thank you to everyone who has helped share our site! We will continue to post about our progress!

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