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Core Science Analytics and Synthesis - USGS-NPS Vegetation Characterization Program

About the Program

The USGS-NPS Vegetation Characterization Program is a cooperative effort by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service Inventory & Monitoring - Vegetation Inventory Program to classify, describe, and map vegetation communities in more than 280 national park units across the United States. Through this undertaking a variety of data and information on vegetation is being made available to Internet users through this website.

Vegetation in each of the participating park units is described and mapped using the National Vegetation Classification Standard of the Federal Geographic Data Committee. Use of the national standard opens up exciting opportunities to develop and share more comparable vegetation information, which facilitates well-defined analyses at different scales and across administrative boundaries.

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Partners and Collaborators

The Inventory and Monitoring Program of the National Park Service - a long-term effort to develop baseline data for the natural resources under National Park Service stewardship. The Vegetation Characterization Program, which is also known as Vegetation Inventory, is an important part of this effort.

Vegetation Subcommittee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee - a partnership that oversees the continued development of the National Vegetation Classification Standard, which is one of the cornerstones of the Vegetation Classification Program. For current status of the standard, products from the Subcommittee, and more information on how all vegetation in the United States is inventoried and studied please visit The U.S. National Vegetation Classification - Your Guide to Inventorying Natural and Cultural Plant Communities.

Our Products

The outcome of the effort is a consistent and scalable vegetation information products - maps , reports, aerial photography - for all of the 280 National Park units with monitoring programs.

You can browse the program's products by state, by the name of participating park unit, or by theme.

Final Product Guidelines (PDF - 1.60 MB) - designed by the NPS and USGS management teams to accelerate the program's final product web posting.

Program Status - check the status of projects in each of the 280 participating parks.

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Standards and Protocols

Use of standards facilitates effective resource stewardship by ensuring compatibility and widespread use of the vegetation information throughout the National Park Service, as well as by other federal and state agencies.

Nationally Defined Standards:

National Vegetation Classification Standard

Metadata Standard

Spatial Data Transfer Standard

National Map Accuracy Standard

Integrated Taxonomic Information System

Program Defined Standards and Protocols:

Accuracy Assessment Procedures

Field Methods for Vegetation Mapping

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