FGDC endorses National Vegetation Classification Standard (Version 2), FGDC-STD-005-2008

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is pleased to announce the endorsement and publication of the National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS) (Version 2.0), FGDC-STD-005-2008.

The purpose of the NVCS (Version 2.0) is to support the development and use of a consistent national vegetation classification (NVC) to produce uniform statistics about vegetation resources across the nation, based on data gathered at local, regional, or national levels.

The NVC consists of a hierarchical list of vegetation types and their descriptions. It is expected to change rapidly for several years, as the backlog of provisional types and pilot examples are reviewed. In addition, new vegetation types will be defined, and previously defined types will be refined as data continue to be collected, analyzed, and correlated over time. Managing the NVC dynamically will allow its development to proceed efficiently. Consistent mapping of vegetation types requires that the NVC be completed first because classification defines the entities to be mapped.

The NVCS (Version 2.0) establishes minimum metadata requirements to ensure consistent reporting on the status of the Nation's vegetation resources. It includes standards for data collection, data analysis, data presentation, and quality control and assurance through peer review.

The NVCS (Version 2.0) shall be followed by all Federal agencies for vegetation classification data collected directly or indirectly (through grants, partnerships, or contracts) using Federal funds. It requires that all Federal vegetation classification efforts meet core data requirements that permit aggregation of data from Federal agencies. It also requires that vegetation mapping and inventory units crosswalk to the NVC. The NVCS (Version 2.0) does not preclude alternative classification approaches and systems that address particular needs of Federal agencies, nor should it hamper local Federal efforts from meeting their specific purposes, such as inventory, monitoring, and mapping. It should be applied at a level of the hierarchy appropriate to the agencies’ needs.

Non-Federal organizations might find the NVCS (Version 2.0) useful for making their efforts compatible with those of nearby Federal land managers and/or any activities that involve Federal agencies. Widespread use of these standards will facilitate integration of existing vegetation data collected by diverse users to address national and regional information needs.

The National Vegetation Classification Standard (Version 2.0), FGDC-STD-005-2008, is a complete revision of FGDC-STD-005-1997 and replaces that document. Procedures used to develop this standard included user surveys, periodic meetings of the FGDC Vegetation Subcommittee, a vegetation classification forum, preparation of a draft standard for lower floristic units by the Vegetation Classification Panel of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), preparation of a draft standard for higher physiognomic and floristic units by the FGDC Hierarchy Revisions Working Group, and a review of the draft standards by the agencies and organizations represented on the Subcommittee.

The FGDC Vegetation Subcommittee developed the standard. It consists of representatives designated by Federal agencies that collect or finance the collection of vegetation data as part of their mission or have direct application of these data through legislated mandate. Non-governmental participants include NatureServe and ESA. The Forest Service chairs the FGDC Vegetation Subcommittee.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service is assigned responsibility to coordinate vegetation data-related activities under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16, revised 2002. It will oversee the maintenance and updating of the Standard through periodic review, and maintenance, updating, dissemination, and implementation of the NVC, in collaboration with member agencies, professional societies, and other organizations. The dynamic content of the NVC shall be updated under the direction of a national review board authorized by the USDA Forest Service through the FGDC Vegetation Data Subcommittee.

For more information about the Vegetation Subcommittee or the national review board, please contact:

USDA Forest Service

Attn: Research and Development

Yates Federal Building, 1 NW

201 14th Street

Washington, DC 20250