Vegetation Classification & Mapping

Classification

For classification of existing vegetation, a set of U.S. Forest Service standards and procedures has been established at the national and regional levels. The R5 CALVEG classification system conforms to the upper levels of the National Vegetation Classification Standard (USNVC) hierarchy as it currently exists. The USNVC sets guidelines for all federal agencies involved in this work. Lowest (floristic) levels of this hierarchy are currently being developed and have not yet been finalized for their applicability to California.

Mapping

The Pacific Southwest Region (R5) Information Management staff is responsible for producing comprehensive spatial and tabular databases for existing vegetation, in addition to other duties. A mapping methodology has been developed to capture vegetation characteristics using automated, systematic procedures that efficiently and cost-effectively map large areas of the state with minimal bias and is supplemented with onsite field visits when appropriate. Map attributes consist of vegetation types using the CALVEG classification system and forest structural characteristics such as tree and shrub canopy cover and tree stem diameters.

Download Existing Vegetation Zones, Keys and Descriptions

Notice:
In the Fall of 2017, these feature classes were migrated to the current Forest Service Existing Vegetation Data Dictionary format for Mid level mapping (Existing Vegetation Classification, Mapping, and Inventory Technical Guide). Regional add-ons to the database will supplement the core attributes for further interpretation of the data. To reduce the size of the database and speed download times, these zone-wide layers have been dissolved into "multi-part" features, where spatially separate polygons sharing the same attributes are stored as a single feature. In its entirety, a "single-part" format of one of these feature classes can potentially be more than 1,000,000 polygons. For analysis purposes, it is wise to select a smaller area of interest and break apart features using tools such as the "Multipart To Singlepart" tool in ArcGIS. Reference to this program does not serve as an endorsement by the USDA Forest Service for a specific product.

Citing Geospatial Data

 

Spatial Data Keys, Descriptions

Zone 1, North Coast - West

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Zone 1, North Coast - Mid

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Zone 1, North Coast - East

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Zone 2, North Interior

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Zone 3, North Sierra

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Zone 4, South Sierra

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Zone 5, Central Valley

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Zone 6, Central Coast

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Zone 7, South Coast

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Zone 8, South Interior

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Zone 9, Great Basin

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California map with CALVEG zone outlined and labeled, map includes county boundaries