Minnesota Land Use/Cover: Classification Systems
A number of different classification systems have been developed to
categorize land use and land cover.
Note: also see the Quick-start comparison table for descriptions of the classes used for each
of Minnesota's land use/cover GIS data sets.
Classification and Information Standard, endorsed by the Federal
Geographic Data Committee, June 1997. This national standard concentrates on
defining broad categories rather than very detailed ones; the intent is
to make it easier to aggregate data collected by any federal agency.
Guidelines for Describing Associations and Alliances of the U.S.
National Vegetation Classification, The Ecological Society of
America, Vegetation Classification Panel, July 2004 (PDF, 165 p.). This
evolving document provides guidance on defining, naming, and describing
floristic units to support the National Vegetation Classification
System. Includes a review of the history and development of vegetation
classification in the U.S., definitions of vegetation associations and
alliances, requirements for field plot records and the identification
and classification of vegetation types, guidelines for peer review of
proposed revisions, and a structure for data access and management.
Minnesota Land Cover Classification System,
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Metro Region, 2004. This system focuses on land cover rather than land use.
It is a hybrid system, incorporating the National Vegetation
Classification System, the Minnesota Natural Heritage native plant
community types, and a cultural classification system to distinguish
among different types and amounts of land cover, vegetation and
Upper Midwest Gap Image Processing Protocol, June 1998 (PDF,
300K), see Appendix A.
This classification, used to map Minnesota as part of the
Upper Midwest Gap Analysis Program, was modified from the detailed
WISCLAND land cover system originally developed for use in
Minnesota's Native Vegetation: A key to natural communities,
Minnesota County Biological Survey, Division of Ecological Services,
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 1993. This system is used to
collect data about the distribution and ecology of rare plants, rare
animals and native plant communities.
Land Use and Land Cover Classification System for Use with Remote Sensor
Data, by James Anderson, et. al., 1976 (PDF, 114K). The
"Anderson System" has been the basis for
many land use data sets.
Vegetation, A.W. Kuchler, 1960s. This classification indicates
the types of vegetation that would likely cover the land if there were
no disturbances from people or nature.
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