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Existing Vegetation Type

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This page includes a general description of the product, please consult the schedule and version pages for information specific to each release.

LANDFIRE's (LF) Existing Vegetation Type (EVT) represents the current distribution of the terrestrial ecological systems classification, developed by NatureServe for the western hemisphere, through 2016. A terrestrial ecological system is defined as a group of plant community types (associations) that tend to co-occur within landscapes with similar ecological processes, substrates, and/or environmental gradients.

EVT also includes ruderal or semi-natural vegetation types within the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. The LF Ruderal NVC Groups Descriptions for CONUS provides descriptions for each ruderal NVC Group including species, distribution, and classification information.

EVT is mapped using decision tree models, field data, Landsat imagery, elevation, and biophysical gradient data.

  • Decision tree models are developed separately for each of the three lifeforms—tree, shrub, and herbaceous and are then used to generate lifeform specific EVT layers.
  • Disturbance products are included in LF products to describe areas on the landscape that have experienced change within the previous 10-year period.

LF 2016 Remap and beyond includes a 90-kilometer buffer along the 1,500 miles of the eastern and southern borders AK shares with Canada. Then with the LF 2020 update, and future updates, for the Conterminous United States (CONUS) a 90-kilometer buffer into Mexico is also included.

For LF 2016 Remap there was a redesign of the Auto-Keys process, which is used to determine existing vegetation type classification based on plot data in the LFRDB — Developing Auto-Keys for LF Vegetation Mapping: 2014-2015 CONUS Project Report

LF uses an assessment process that compares the EVT product for a pixel with the Auto-Key EVT assignment for a sample plot contained in that pixel. Learn more about agreement assessments.

Product availability
Attribute Data Dictionary PDF

Comma separated value (CSV) files can be found in the LF Library.

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EVT example
Northwest region - LF 2016 Remap EVT

Key EVT Attributes
VALUE Ecological Systems code used by LANDFIRE
EVT_Name  Ecological Systems name in the LANDFIRE EVT legend
EVT_Fuel  Ecological Systems code used for Fuel product development
EVT_Fuel_N  Ecological Systems class name used for Fuel product development
EVT_LF  Vegetation lifeform (e.g., Tree, Shrub, Herb, Sparse)
EVT_GP  Collapsed vegetation type code
EVT_GP_N  Collapsed vegetation type name (e.g., Grasslands and Steppes, Hammocks, Longleaf Pine)
EVT_PHYS  Vegetation physiognomy (e.g., Grassland, Riparian, Hardwood, Sparsely Vegetated)
SAF_SRM  Society of American Foresters/Society for Range Management cover type
EVT Order  Vegetation Physiognomic Order (FGDC Classes)
EVT_CLASS  Vegetation Class (FGDC Classes)
EVT_SBCLS Vegetation Subclass (FGDC Classes) 

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