Skip to main content
Canadian National Vegetation Classification
A hierarchical taxonomy of vegetation

The Canadian National Vegetation Classification (CNVC) acts as a “dictionary” of vegetation units with standardized names, specific definitions, and factsheet.  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. The goals of the CNVC 2023-2028 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 government agencies and partners with relevant expertise, data and jurisdictional authority in order to complete and map 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.



The primary purpose of the CNVC is to provide a consistent, systematic, and authoritative classification and description of Canadian ecosystems, based on vegetation patterns in the context of ecological processes. The CNVC is an important tool for coordinating the exchange of ecological information among multiple user groups (e.g., provincial, territorial and federal governments) to support research and land management activities in the following ways:

  • Serve as a standardized ecological framework and language

  • Provide ecologically meaningful units for reporting

  • Support monitoring and predicting change

  • Inform ecosystem-based management

  • Assist in conservation planning              

The project relies on extensive collaboration and investments by provincial, territorial and federal governments.

Visit the CNVC Website to learn more.