• Area classification;
  • area names;
  • area nomenclature;
  • area ranks;
  • ICAN;
  • standards in biogeography


In 2007 the Systematic and Evolutionary Biogeographical Association (SEBA) wrote and ratified the first draft of the International Code of Area Nomenclature (ICAN), which was posted subsequently on the SEBA website. The ICAN was published, along with an explanatory discussion, by Ebach et al. (Journal of Biogeography, 35, 2008, 1153–1157), an article that is the subject of criticism by Zaragüeta-Bagils et al. (Journal of Biogeography, 36, 2009, 1617–1618). We welcome discussion of the issues raised by these authors and respond to them briefly here. For many reasons, we reject the proposition that implementation of the ICAN be postponed until it is flawless. The ICAN has already been implemented. Further, it is the nature of nomenclatural codes to be proposed and then revised periodically to suit our applications. Most importantly, standardization of area names in biogeography is long overdue.