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Florida Land Cover Classification System

The Florida Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (Strategy) has taken a habitat-based approach to assess the needs and status of wildlife in Florida. However, a single, comprehensive land cover classification is needed to meet the priorities and goals of the Strategy.

The feasibility and applicability of classification schemas used within Florida, other states, and nationally was investigated to determine if a currently developed classification could be serve as a model for a classification that could be used to meet the needs of the Strategy. It was determined that a schema that incorporated classifications currently used by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI), and Florida’s water management districts (WMD) would be the most feasible and produce the most usable land cover dataset.

Based on these classifications, a “straw-man” classification was presented to a group of experts in Florida’s natural communities, as well as experts in image processing and classification who have been involved in classification of Florida habitats. Meetings with these experts were held and the proposed classification was revised and modified to incorporate, to the greatest extent possible, the currently used classifications and class definitions into a new classification schema.

The resultant classification scheme is hierarchical and extensible, and can be cross-walked among the currently used and maintained classifications. The ability to cross-walk this classification with other currently used schemas will allow the incorporation of other classification efforts and facilitate collaboration between entities producing land cover datasets.

This will ultimately result in more accurate and reliable land cover classification that will benefit and add value to all currently maintained land cover classification projects, as well as meet the needs of the Strategy.

The classification scheme and class definitions are summarized in the Florida Land Cover Classification System

Contact us with comments or questions regarding the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy and Classification.