Canadian National Vegetation Classification

Classify and Describe All Natural and Semi-Natural Canadian Vegetation in an Ecologically Meaningful MannerCanada

About This Project

The Canadian National Vegetation Classification (CNVC) is the result of a partnership between 20 international, federal, provincial, territorial governmental and non-governmental agencies, including NatureServe Canada and the member conservation data centres. Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service chairs the effort.

Goal

The Canadian National Vegetation Classification (CNVC) will be a hierarchical taxonomy of vegetation conditions at different levels of generalization. This hierarchy, which has been developed by an international group of scientists from the Western Hemisphere, uses physiognomic criteria at the upper levels, floristic criteria at the lower levels, and combinations of these factors through the middle levels to classify the diversity of natural and semi-natural vegetation. The goals of the CNVC project are to:

  • Develop standardized vegetation classification units for Canada.
  • Classify Canadian vegetation at various taxonomic levels of generalization.
  • Provide a standardized taxonomic nomenclature for Canadian vegetation units.
  • Provide descriptions of Canadian vegetation units in a publicly accessible manner.
  • Engage Canadian partners with relevant expertise, data and jurisdictional authority in order to complete the classification with the greatest degree of national consensus.
  • Coordinate classification standards and correlate CNVC classification units with Canadian provincial, territorial and regional classifications, as well as with the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (USNVC).
  • Communicate to a wide audience of potential users the need for, and utility of, a standardized national classification of vegetation types for Canada.

 

Significance

The CNVC hierarchy has been developed by an international group of scientists from the Western Hemisphere. The classification uses physiognomic criteria at the upper levels, floristic criteria at the lower levels, and combinations of these factors through the middle levels to classify the diversity of natural and semi-natural vegetation.

  • Units define and describe vegetation using standardized criteria and nomenclature.
  • The classification consists of a full taxonomic vegetation hierarchy to permit descriptions of vegetation at various levels of generality.
  • The classification will be integrated with spatial, or ecological land, classifications, using the association as the basic unit of integration.
  • Diagnostic features among the units are based upon vegetation characteristics that can be observed and measured objectively in the field, preferably using plot-based sampling methods.
  • The units are concepts based upon characteristics of existing vegetation conditions. As much as possible, data are obtained from across the distribution range of the classification units in Canada, supplemented as necessary by additional range-wide information.
  • The classification is designed to be updated and revised through a structured peer review process, as new information and type concepts become available. Periodic evaluation of the entire classification structure is encouraged.

Visit the CNVC Website.