Technical Thematic Report No. 3. - Guidance for the preparation of ESTR products – Land classification scheme for the ecosystem status and trends report
Other Land Cover/Vegetation Classifications
- Canadian Wetland Classification System
- Canadian National Vegetation Classification
- National Land and Water Information Service
- Earth Observation for Sustainable Development of Forests
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
This section outlines other national classification schemes or legends that were not used directly in national land cover analyses produced for ESTR but are still relevant for consideration in an overall land cover classification scheme for use in ESTR reports.
Canadian Wetland Classification System
The Canadian Wetland Classification System (National Wetlands Working Group, 1997) has three levels:
- Wetland Class: distinguished based on “properties of the wetland that reflect the overall genetic origin of the wetland and the nature of the environment” (Bog, Fen, Swamp, Marsh, or Shallow Water).
- Wetland Form: “Subdivisions of each class based on surface morphology, surface pattern, water type, and morphology characteristics of underlying mineral soil” (for example, Blanket Bog, Basin Bog, Collapse Scar Bog).
- Wetland Type: “Subdivisions of Wetland Form and Subform based on the physiognomic characteristics of the vegetation communities” (for example, Forb, Graminoid). Wetland types can apply to more than one class.
As discussed above, wetlands in the NFI can be differentiated by land cover and vegetation type which corresponds directly with the third level of the Wetland Classification System (Wetland Type, Table 3); however, differentiation between Wetland Classes and Forms is not always possible for NFI data (Table 4). Wetland Classes may correspond to a number of NFIwetland polygons. Generally, the Canadian Wetland Classification System classifies wetlands in finer detail than is necessary for the purposes of ESTR.
Canadian National Vegetation Classification
The Canadian component of the International Vegetation Classification, the Canadian National Vegetation Classification was launched in 1998. Development of the Canadian National Vegetation Classification system is ongoing and is based on the revised version of the FGDC-NVCS (which was not yet implemented in the U.S. at the time of writing this paper). At the time of writing, work was completed on defining the broadest level classification and was ongoing at the association level for forests and woodlands through the Canadian Forest Ecosystem Classification of the Canadian Forest Service (see Table 5). The divisions within the rest of the hierarchy had not been determined and formalized.
|Level||Status of Categorization|
|Upper Levels (based primarily on physiognomy)|
|Formation Class||Predefined in to 5 growth form units: mesomorphic , xeromorphic, cryomorphic , lithomorphic, and hydromorphic|
|Formation Subclass||Not categorized at time of writing|
|Formation||Not categorized at time of writing|
|Mid levels (based on both floristics and physiognomy)|
|Division||Not categorized at time of writing|
|Macrogroup||Not categorized at time of writing|
|Group||Not categorized at time of writing|
|Lower levels (based primarily on floristics)|
|Alliance||Not categorized at time of writing|
|Association||Work underway categorizing forest and woodland associations through the Canadian Forest Ecosystem Classification|
Source: Baldwin (2008, pers. comm.). For current information, go to cnvc-cnvc.ca
National Land and Water Information Service
The National Land and Water Information Service (NLWIS) is an internet-service being developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in close collaboration with other federal departments, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, producer and industry groups, and academic institutions to provide easy access to agri-environmental information, including land use, soil, water, climate, and biodiversity (Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, 2008). At the time of writing, NLWIS has completed Phase 1 of 4, and was due to be complete in 2009.12
Land cover classes provided through NLWIS for agricultural land for the year 2000 were:
- Water bodies
- Exposed land
- Developed or built-up land
- Native grassland
- Annual crops
- Perennial cropland and pasture
- Coniferous forest
- Deciduous forest
- Mixed forest
Earth Observation for Sustainable Development of Forests
The Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EOSD) of Forests is a Canadian Forest Services project in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency aimed at mapping Canada’s forested land cover using satellite imagery. A map of the land cover of Canada’s forested ecozones (all except for the three arctic ecozones, the prairies, and the mixedwood plains) circa 2000 has been produced based on landsat data as part of this project (Wulder et al., 2008). The legend used for the EOSD was developed to work with the NFI Land Cover Classification Scheme (see page 6), and is considered a closed legend which aims to be applicable throughout Canada for a breadth of different land cover products (Wulder and Nelson, 2003).
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
In Volume 1 of The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), ten reporting units are used. These units are referred to as “systems” as opposed to “ecosystems” and they are:
- Inland water
- Forest and woodland
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