Native Plant Communities

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Native Plant Community Classification

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In 2003, researchers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) completed a new classification of the native vegetation of Minnesota, Minnesota's Native Plant Community Classification (Version 2.0). The DNR's new classification is intended to provide a framework and common language for improving our ability to manage vegetation, survey natural areas for biodiversity conservation, identify research needs, and promote study and appreciation of native vegetation in Minnesota.

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Version 2.0 of the DNR's native plant community classification is based strongly on plant species composition and was developed through analysis of extensive field data collected from sample plots in forests, prairies, wetlands, and other habitats. The process and methods used to develop the classification are described in Minnesota's Native Plant Community Classification: A Statewide Classification of Terrestrial and Wetland Vegetation Based on Numerical Analysis of Plot Data This is a PDF file.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. (2.1mb). The classification is hierarchical, with vegetation units described at levels ranging from broad landscape-scale ecological systems to local communities. One of the most important features of the new classification is the inclusion of ecological processes as an organizing principle.

The development of Version 2.0 of the DNR's native plant community classification was made possible by the acquisition of new data and information gathered through several projects between 1990 and 2000, including development by the DNR's Division of Forestry of an Ecological Land Classification for Minnesota, which provided an organizing framework for the classification; continued progress of the Minnesota Biological Survey in east-central, southeastern, and northeastern Minnesota; computerization of Public Land Survey (1847-1908) bearing tree data This is a PDF file.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. and line survey notes, which increased our understanding of pre-European settlement vegetation patterns in Minnesota; and extensive collection of vegetation plot data in Minnesota through the efforts of the DNR, federal agencies, colleges and universities, tribal agencies, and private organizations. The new classification replaces the DNR's previous plant community classification, which is described in Minnesota's Native Vegetation: A Key to Natural Communities (Version 1.5) This is a PDF file.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.. The hierarchical construction of the new plant community classification and its linkage to ecological map units are specifically designed to meet the needs of land managers, field surveyors, and researchers working at a variety of scales.



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