Omernik, J.M., S.S. Chapman, R.A. Lillie, and R.T. Dumke. 2000. Ecoregions of Wisconsin. Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 88:77-103.
Ecoregions are geographical areas within which the biotic and abiotic components of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems exhibit different but relatively homogeneous patterns in comparison to that of other areas. As such these regions serve as a framework for ecosystem management in a holistic sense and allow integration of assessment and management activities across state and federal agencies that may have different responsibilities and missions for the same geographic areas. Most of the spatial frameworks of Wisconsin that are termed ecoregions or have been used for environmental management in the state were designed to address specific aspects of resource management. In a collaborative effort with various state and federal agencies, we have attempted to define a framework to meet broader ecosystem management needs that consider both the terrestrial and aquatic components as well as the human influences and associations with other ecosystem characteristics that affect management potentials for land and water resources. The "Ecoregions of Wisconsin" consist of 27 level IV regions nested within six larger level III regions that also occupy portions of adjoining states. We provide a brief description of the primary distinguishing characteristics (such as soils, vegetation, climate, geology, physiography, water quality, hydrology, and land use) within each level III and IV ecoregion, and discus the potential applications of the ecoregion map in context of current and future directions of ecosystem management in Wisconsin.