Skip booklet index and go to page content

Technical Thematic Report No. 17. - Monitoring ecosystems remotely: a selection of trends measured from satellite observations of Canada

Appendix 1

Land cover classification scheme used for the Land Cover Change analysis for the ESTR

Tree crown density > 10%. Includes:

  • Conifer Forest (>80% needleleaf trees)
  • Broadleaf Forest (> 80% broadleaf trees)
  • Mixed Forest (20-80% of tree species are either needleleaf or broadleaf trees)
ShrublandTree crown density < 10%, shrub cover > 40%
Note: Most wetlands will be included here
GrasslandTree or shrub cover <10%, herbaceous vegetation present
Agricultural Land


  • Cropland (land covered with typically annual herbaceous crops, may contain <10% shrubs or trees. Includes low, medium and high biomass crops)
  • Cropland/woodland (contains a mix of cropland, forest, shrubland, grassland or built-up areas in which no one component comprises >70% (by area) of the landscape)
Low Vegetation and BarrenIncludes areas vegetated with lichens, heather, herbs, shrubs (<40% of vegetation is shrubs, otherwise it will be classified as “Shrubland”), bare soils, or rock outcrops
Fire Scars


  • New disturbance (fire scars < 5 years old)
  • Old disturbance (fire scars > 5 years old, but not yet classified as another vegetation type.

Note: while old and new fire scars make up the majority of this class, areas of harvest, mining, and severe insect defoliation may also be included

UrbanLand covered by buildings and other artificial structures. Confusion with other non-vegetated classes may occur for small urban areas.
Note: Urban area in this report is status as of 1996-1997 from the National Atlas. AVHRR data is too coarse to map changes in urban area over time.
Snow/ice/glacierLand covered with permanent ice or snow.
Note: Errors exist in this class for the Pacific Maritime and Boreal Cordillera ecozones+. These errors have been corrected in the 2005 land cover map, but are not corrected in the transition matrices. Changes in this class over time therefore cannot be discussed.
Inland WaterLand covered with water in liquid form
Note: The ‘inland water’ class extent is taken from the National Atlas. Changes in inland water are not mapped due to the dynamic nature and high variability of this class.