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National Park Service Vegetation Inventory Program, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

January 1, 2013

The National Park Service (NPS) Vegetation Inventory Program (VIP) is an effort to classify, describe, and map existing vegetation of national park units for the NPS Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program. The NPS VIP is managed by the NPS Biological Resources Management Division and provides baseline vegetation information to the NPS Natural Resource I&M Program. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Vegetation Characterization Program lends a cooperative role in the NPS VIP. The USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, NatureServe, and NPS Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CUVA) have completed vegetation classification and mapping of CUVA.

Mappers, ecologists, and botanists collaborated to identify and describe vegetation types within the National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS) and to determine how best to map them by using aerial imagery. The team collected data from 221 vegetation plots within CUVA to develop detailed descriptions of vegetation types. Data from 50 verification sites were also collected to test both the key to vegetation types and the application of vegetation types to a sample set of map polygons. Furthermore, data from 647 accuracy assessment (AA) sites were collected (of which 643 were used to test accuracy of the vegetation map layer). These data sets led to the identification of 45 vegetation types at the association level in the NVCS at CUVA.

A total of 44 map classes were developed to map the vegetation and general land cover of CUVA, including the following: 29 map classes represent natural/semi-natural vegetation types in the NVCS, 12 map classes represent cultural vegetation (agricultural and developed) in the NVCS, and 3 map classes represent non-vegetation features (open-water bodies). Features were interpreted from viewing color-infrared digital aerial imagery dated October 2010 (during peak leaf-phenology change of trees) via digital onscreen three-dimensional stereoscopic workflow systems in geographic information systems (GIS). The interpreted data were digitally and spatially referenced, thus making the spatial database layers usable in GIS. Polygon units were mapped to either a 0.5 ha or 0.25 ha minimum mapping unit, depending on vegetation type.

A geodatabase containing various feature-class layers and tables shows the locations of vegetation types and general land cover (vegetation map), vegetation plot samples, verification sites, AA sites, project boundary extent, and aerial photographic centers. The feature-class layer and relate tables for the CUVA vegetation map provides 4,640 polygons of detailed attribute data covering 13,288.4 ha, with an average polygon size of 2.9 ha.

Summary reports generated from the vegetation map layer show map classes representing natural/semi-natural types in the NVCS apply to 4,151 polygons (89.4% of polygons) and cover 11,225.0 ha (84.5%) of the map extent. Of these polygons, the map layer shows CUVA to be 74.4% forest (9,888.8 ha), 2.5% shrubland (329.7 ha), and 7.6% herbaceous vegetation cover (1,006.5 ha). Map classes representing cultural types in the NVCS apply to 435 polygons (9.4% of polygons) and cover 1,825.7 ha (13.7%) of the map extent. Map classes representing non-NVCS units (open water) apply to 54 polygons (1.2% of polygons) and cover 237.7 ha (1.8%) of the map extent.

A thematic AA study was conducted of map classes representing natural/semi-natural types in the NVCS. Results present an overall accuracy of 80.7% (kappa index of 79.5%) based on data from 643 of the 647 AA sites. Most individual map-class themes exceed the NPS VIP standard of 80% with a 90% confidence interval.

The CUVA vegetation mapping project delivers many geospatial and vegetation data products in hardcopy and/or digital formats. These products consist of an in-depth project report discussing methods and results, which include descriptions and a dichotomous key to vegetation types, map classification and map-class descriptions, and a contingency table showing AA results. The suite of products also includes a database of vegetation plots, verification sites, and AA sites; digital pictures of field sites; field data sheets; aerial photographic imagery; hardcopy and digital maps; and a geodatabase of vegetation types and land cover (map layer), fieldwork locations (vegetation plots, verification sites, and AA sites), aerial photographic index, project boundary, and metadata. All geospatial products are projected in Universal Transverse Mercator, Zone 17, by using the North American Datum of 1983. Information on the NPS VIP and completed park mapping projects are located on the Internet at and .

Publication Year 2013
Title National Park Service Vegetation Inventory Program, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Authors Kevin D. Hop, J. Drake, Andrew C. Strassman, Erin E. Hoy, Shannon Menard, J.J. Dieck, J.W. Jakusz
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Natural Resource Technical Report
Series Number NPS/HTLN/NRTR—2013/792
Index ID 70048359
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center