Metadata for Montana Landcover Framework Map Service Metadata for Montana Landcover Framework Map Service
Identification Information:
Originator: Montana Natural Heritage Program
Publication date: 01/18/2024
Title: Montana Landcover Framework Map Service
Publication place: Helena, Montana
Publisher: Montana State Library
Online linkage:
Larger Work Citation:
Title: Montana Landcover Framework
Online linkage:{a92014c4-3433-4eb4-b425-6ee7cc797232}

This statewide land cover theme is a digital raster map of natural vegetation communities and disturbances (e.g. wildland fire) and human land use activities for Montana. The basemap is adapted from the LANDFIRE 2016 Remap (LF 2.0.0) Existing Vegetation Type (EVT) classification, which used 30 m resolution Landsat multi-spectral imagery that represented circa 2016 ground conditions. The EVT product contained the distribution of ecological systems classification units developed by NatureServe, and also included semi-natural (ruderal) vegetation types within the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC). The EVT mapping was developed using decision tree models, field data, Landsat imagery, elevation, and biophysical gradient data. Detailed metadata for EVT can be found at Initial Data Sources and Processing Steps 2020 – 2021: The original LANDFIRE EVT raster was downloaded, clipped to the boundary of Montana, and projected from NAD 1983 Albers (meters) to NAD 1983-2011 State Plane Montana FIPS 2500 (meters). It was initially modified using state-specific datasets such as the 2017 MSDI Transportation Framework, the 2020 Montana Department of Revenue Final Land Unit (FLU) classification of private agricultural land, the USFS VMAP products and the Montana Ecological Groups; as well as national datasets such as SSURGO soils, the USGS Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) and Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) rasters. Additional updates include reassignment of certain EVT classes and cross referencing some EVT classes to a modified version of ecological systems for Montana (Montana Field Guide for Ecological Systems, EVT classes were further reassigned where there was disagreement with the expected species range described in the Montana Field Guide. For a detailed description of these initial steps see data processing steps Section 1. Ecological Group Data Processing Steps 2021-2023: EVT classes were reassigned based on visual inspection of each ecological group and informed by ancillary datasets, such as ecological group attributes, NAIP imagery, SSURGO soils, and elevation and its derivatives. The methods implemented in revising the original LANDFIRE 2016 REMAP product represent a successful proof of concept for performing locationally specific updates rather than only systematic statewide revisions. Project funding and time constraints precluded addressing all errors of omission and commission in the original LANDFIRE 2016 Remap product that could have been revised using methods developed for updating Landfire EVT for Montana Land Cover. For a detailed description see data processing steps Section 2.
Montana Landcover 2023 (MTLC 2023) is based on the Existing Vegetation Type product released under LANDFIRE 2016 Remap (LF 2.0.0) modified using state-specific and national datasets, such as, transportation, Final Land Unit classification, LCMAP, MTBS, landscape level ecological units, and SSURGO soil map units. Montana Land Cover is a 30 meter by 30 meter pixel resolution product that is suitable for information purposes only and may not be appropriate for applications at the sub-regional, and landscape levels.

Time period of content:
Beginning date: 01/01/2016
Ending date: 09/07/2023
Currentness reference:
Ground conditions at the time of satellite imagery collection (2016), except for transportation classes (November 2017) and agricultural classes (2020); burned pixels are updated to 2019.
Progress: Complete
Maintenance and update frequency: None planned
Access constraints: None
Use constraints:
Use of this dataset is not recommended for fine-scale analyses (less than 1:50,000). Fires have only been updated to 2019.
Point of contact:
Jessica Mitchell
Spatial Analysis Lab
Telephone: (406) 243-5196

Data set credit:
The 2023 Montana Landcover (MTLC) is a product of the Spatial Analysis Lab, University of Montana, the Montana Natural Heritage Program, the Montana State Library, and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
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Data Quality Information:
Logical consistency report:
Visual inspection. Ommission and commission errors expected.
Completeness report: Visual inspection. Omission and commission errors expected.

Source information:
Title: Landfire Existing Vegetation Type
Online linkage:
Type of source media: onLine
Source contribution:
LANDFIRE's (LF) Existing Vegetation Type (EVT) represents the current distribution of the terrestrial ecological systems classification developed by NatureServe for the western hemisphere. In this context, a terrestrial ecological system is defined as a group of plant community types that tend to co-occur within landscapes with similar ecological processes, substrates, and/or environmental gradients. The EVT product also includes ruderal or semi-natural vegetation types within the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC) See the EVT product page for more information about ecological systems and NVC. The EVT product was mapped using decision tree models, field data, Landsat imagery, elevation, and biophysical gradient data. Decision tree models were developed separately for tree, shrub, and herbaceous lifeforms, which were then used to produce a lifeform-specific EVT product. These models were generated for each Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Level III Ecoregion ( Riparian, alpine, sparse and other site- specific EVTs were constrained by predetermined masks. Urban and developed areas were derived from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD), whereas agricultural lands originated from the USDA Cropland Data Layer (CDL) and Common Land Unit (CLU) database.
Developed ruderal classes were identified by combining wildland-urban-interface (WUI) data with population density information from the US Census Bureau. Annual Disturbance products were included to describe areas that have experienced landscape change within the previous 10-year period. EVT was then reconciled through QA/QC measures to ensure lifeform was synchronized with both Existing Vegetation Cover (EVC) and Height (EVH) products.

According to NatureServe’s Nomenclature rules for community scientific names, nomenclature for the Ecological Systems classification includes three primary components that communicate aspects of the Systems characteristics: regional distribution (predominant Ecological Division), vegetation physiognomy and composition, and/or environmental setting. The final name used is a combination of these ecological characteristics with consideration given to local usage and practicality (e.g., length of name).

Ecological Divisions are regional scaled units that typically form part of each classification unit name. That is, a “Rocky Mountain” ecological system unit is entirely or predominantly found (>80% of its total range) within the Rocky Mountain Division, but could also occur in neighboring Divisions. This nomenclatural standard is applicable to most ecological system units, except for those types that span several Divisions (e.g., some tidal or freshwater marsh systems), or are more localized (>80% of the range) within a subunit of the Division (e.g., Colorado Plateau, within the Inter-Mountain Basins Division).
Source information:
Title: MSDI Transportation dataset
Online linkage:
Type of source media: onLine
Source contribution:
The MSDI Transportation Framework is the most complete representation of Montana road geometry in one statewide database, with address data where available. This statewide dataset incorporates transportation features and attributes from many different data sources.
The November 2017 Framework is the most recent version.
Source information:
Title: Montana Department of Revenue Final Land Unit 2020
Type of source media: None
Source contribution:
The Department of Revenue Final Land Unit (FLU) classification categorizes private agricultural land into one of six uses: fallow, hay, grazing, irrigated, continuously cropped, and forest, with forest additionally classified as commercial or non-commercial and irrigated land classified as being flood, pivot, or sprinkler.

Linework was digitized, edited and updated by DOR GIS Technicians. NAIP 2005 imagery was the primary source used to delineate the features. In early 2009, all agriculture producers who own private parcels in the state were mailed maps of their parcels ag/forest use with instructions to return maps that were incorrectly classified. The DOR GIS technicians updated the database based on feedback from landowners and DOR appraisers who discovered classification changes during field work and/or through analysis of new imagery where available. Since 2010 the data continues to be actively updated on a yearly basis using the most current NAIP imagery available and/or per land classification change requests from landowners and DOR county agriculture and forest appraisal staff. The data changes are completed by DOR GIS staff assigned to maintain specific counties. Typically, there are land classification changes on between 3,000 to 5,000 geocoded parcels each year.
Source information:
Title: Montana Field Guide - Ecological Systems
Online linkage:
Type of source media: None
Source contribution:
The Montana Field Guide for Ecological Systems provides information on the identification, distribution, status, and ecology of Montana's biological communities. Ecological systems represent recurring groups of biological communities that are found in similar environments and are influenced by similar dynamic ecological processes, such as fire or flooding.
Source information:
Title: LCMAP Collection 1.1 Science Products
Online linkage:
Type of source media: onLine
Source contribution:
LCMAP Collection 1.1 Science Products: the LCMAP project has generated an integrated suite of annual land cover and land surface change products for the Conterminous United States based on time series data from the Landsat record from 1985–2019. LCMAP Collection 1.1 Science Products are based on the USGS implementation of the Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC) algorithm.
Source information:
Title: Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS)
Online linkage:
Type of source media: onLine
Source contribution:
Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) is an interagency program whose goal is to consistently map the burn severity and extent of large fires across all lands of the United States from 1984 to present. This includes all fires 1000 acres or greater in the western United States and 500 acres or greater in the eastern Unites States. The extent of coverage includes the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Source information:
Title: Interagency Fire Perimeter History - All Years
Online linkage:
Type of source media: onLine
Source contribution:
The national fire history perimeter data layer of conglomerated Agency Authoritative perimeters was developed in support of the WFDSS application and wildfire decision support for the 2021 fire season. The layer encompasses the final fire perimeters datasets of the USDA Forest Service, US Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, the Alaska Interagency Fire Center, and CalFire. Perimeters are included thru the 2020 fire season. Requirements for fire perimeter inclusion, such as minimum acreage requirements, are set by the contributing agencies.

Process step:
1. Initial data sources and processing steps 2020-2021
Landfire Remap EVT was downloaded from the Landfire Viewer ( in two tiles covering the state of Montana. A national product was unavailable at the time of download; however, a pixel-level comparison between the national product and the tiles showed no difference. The tiles were mosaicked in ArcGIS 10.6, the output clipped to the state boundary and projected from NAD 1983 Albers (meters) to NAD 1983-2011 State Plane Montana FIPS 2500 (meters).
Process date: 09/01/2020
Process step:
The November 2017 MSDI transportation framework geodatabase was downloaded from the Geographic Information Clearinghouse website.
The ROADS dataset was split into 3 based on ROADTYPE attribute:
3. Other Road: to avoid mapping minor tracks as 30m pixels, the following selection was performed:
3.3. Select MDT_Syst = SECONDARY
3.4. from the combination ROADTYPE/System Local/Local Access, Local/Road, Local/Private drive, Minor rural/Local access, Minor collector/Secondary, and Minor collector/Tribal, select Surfacetype = PAVED, ASPHALT, CONCRETE, BLADED or GRADED
3.5. Select all not-yet selected roads with Surfacetype = PAVED, ASPHALT, or CONCRETE
3.6. Select all not-yet selected roads with speed limit greater or equal to 35 mph

Railroad data were available as a separate dataset. Each class was converted to raster and given a new Value (Interstate: 6001; Major Road: 6002; Other Road: 6003; Railroad: 6004).
Existing EVT road pixels (Value: 7299) were removed using the SHRINK command in ArcGIS, to avoid an artificial “thickening” of roads due to slight location differences, where a new road pixel is next to an existing one instead of overriding it. In order of precedence, new road pixels were added to the road-free raster as follows: Interstate > Major Road > Other Road > Railroad. Integration of the MSDI Transportation Framework enables differentiation among road types (roads, interstates, major, or minor roads), includes railroads, and corrects pixelation effects and connectivity errors associated with linear transportation features.
Process date: 03/01/2021
Process step:
The FLU dataset (12/09/2020) was obtained from the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) in vector format. Polygons with LTYPE = C (continuously cropped), I (irrigated land) and H (non-irrigated hay land) were converted to a 30 m raster (pixel values 6011 for C and I, 6012 for H) and used to replace all underlaying pixels except road pixels (i.e., roads and railroad took precedence over FLU data). The EVT agriculture pixels originate from the United States Department of Agriculture Cropland Data Layer (CDL) and Common Land Unit (CLU) database as raster models at the national level. By contrast, the Montana Department of Revenue FLU is a vector dataset. The linework is digitized, edited, and updated by DOR GIS technicians using photo interpretation of recent NAIP imagery. In addition, mapping relies on landowner feedback and updates are made when DOR appraisers discover classification changes during field work.
Process date: 03/02/2021
Process step:
The Landfire EVT was mapped by ecoregions from a classification developed at the national level. A careful examination of class size (number of pixels) and distributions at the state level identified pixels that could be absorbed into surrounding classes. In other cases, classes were collapsed or eliminated to simplify the classification:

Initial reassignment of classes with limited occurrence:
• Rocky Mountain Lower Montane Foothill Shrubland (7086; n = 792); Western Great Plains Sandhill Steppe (7094; n = 1805); and Western Cool Temperate Developed Ruderal Evergreen Forested Wetland (794; n = 5) were absorbed by the majority class of adjacent pixels;
• Western Great Plains Dry Bur Oak Forest and Woodland (7013; n = 96) was reassigned to Great Plains Ponderosa Pine Woodland and Savanna (7179);
• Inter-Mountain Basins Playa (9008; n = 26) was reassigned to Mat Saltbush Shrubland (7066);

Other 2021-03-03 class changes:
• Recently Disturbed Other classes (7198, 7199, 7200) were reassigned to Recently Disturbed Logged classes (7191, 7192, 7193);
• Western Cool Temperate Orchard (7960), Western Cool Temperate Row Crop - Close Grown Crop (7963), Western Cool Temperate Row Crop (7964), Western Cool Temperate Close Grown Crop (7965), Western Cool Temperate Fallow/Idle Cropland (7966), and Western Cool Temperate Wheat (7968) classes were reassigned to Cultivated Crops (6011), along with pixels from FLU LTYPE I and C;
• Western Cool Temperate Pasture and Hayland (7967) was reassigned to Pasture and Hayland (6012), along with pixels from FLU LTYPE H;
• The five Western Cool Temperate Urban classes (7900 – 7904) were reassigned to a new class: Developed and Urban Vegetation (6005);
• The eight Western Cool Temperate Developed Ruderal classes (7920 – 7944) were reassigned to Developed and Urban Vegetation (6005);
• Developed-Low Intensity (7296) and Developed-Medium Intensity (7297) were collapsed into a new class Developed - Low and Medium Intensity (6006);
• Northern & Central Plains Ruderal & Planted Shrubland (9316) was reassigned to Interior Western North American Temperate Ruderal Shrubland

Process date: 03/03/2021
Process step:
The original Landfire EVT classes (field EVT_NAME) were crosswalked to the MTNHP SNAME field. EVT_NAME contains more classes (n = 85) than SNAME (n = 76) due to the EVT_NAME splitting of some classes by lifeform (e.g. shrubland and woodland as two separate classes, vs a single woodland & and shrubland class in SNAME), and to the simplification of some class names (e.g. EVT_NAME Interior West Ruderal Riparian Scrub, Western North American Ruderal Wet Meadow & Marsh, and Western North American Ruderal Wet Shrubland were all crosswalked to SNAME Introduced Riparian and Wetland Vegetation). Detailed descriptions of ecological systems classes adapted for Montana can be found in the MTNHP Field Guide
Process date: 03/05/2021
Process step:
The following attributes from Landfire EVT were either modified or removed:
Value: all original Landfire Remap EVT values are a 4-digit code starting with 7, 8 or 9. New classes (such as new road classes) or modified classes (such as grouping of low and medium intensity developed) were assigned a new value starting with the digit 6 to uniquely distinguish and easily identify these classes from original EVT classes.
EVT_NAME: renamed to EVT_NAME_MT as some classes are not present in the original Landfire Remap product.
SNAME, GNAME, Level 1, Level2 and ESLF: added.

The original Landfire Remap EVT attributes that have been removed can be retrieved using the original EVT raster, which is available for Montana through the Montana State Library (

Process date: 03/06/2021
Process step:
Overlaying Recently Burned-Herb and Grass Cover and Recently Burned-Shrub Cover pixels from Landfire Remap with NAIP imagery 2011 revealed that a large proportion were actually forested pixels prior to burning; the Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) V1.1 2011 was used to correct such misclassified pixels. After downloading and reprojecting to Montana State Plane, Burned-Herb and Grass Cover (7195) and Recently Burned-Shrub Cover (7196) pixels classified as Tree (value 4) in LCMAP LCPRI (Primary Land Cover) 2011 were reclassified to Recently Burned-Tree Cover (7197).
Process date: 06/01/2021
Process step:
Because burned grassland pixels regenerate more rapidly than either shrub or tree pixels, areas classified as Recently Burned-Herb and Grass Cover based on 2016 imagery are unlikely to still be in a burned state. To fix this issue, all remaining Recently Burned-Herb and Grass Cover pixels were manually reclassified to the dominant herbaceous ecological system found in the vicinity. This step and the previous one (fixing misclassified burned grassland and shrubland to burned forest) prepared MTLC for new fire updates.
Process date: 06/02/2021
Process step:
Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) rasters for 2017, 2018 and 2019 were downloaded for Montana and projected/snapped to MTLC. To produce extended fire assessments, MTBS requires the imagery from following year vegetation peak of green.
Reclassification of pixels was done as follows:
MTLC grassland and Hay/Pasture pixels: reclass all grassland pixels overlapping MTBS 2019 low, moderate or high severity to Recently Burned-Herb and Grass Cover.
MTLC shrubland pixels: reclass all shrubland pixels overlapping MTBS 2017, 2018 or 2019 low, moderate or high severity to Recently Burned-Shrub Cover.
MTLC forest pixels: reclass all forest pixels overlapping MTBS 2017, 2018 or 2019 low, moderate or high severity to Recently Burned-Tree Cover.
MTLC other classes: developed, barren remain unchanged; wetland/riparian ecological systems: use physiognomy to assign to proper burn class (grass, shrub or forest); Cultivated Crops: keep unchanged.
Process date: 06/07/2021
Process step:
Interagency Fire Perimeter History - All Years fire perimeters from 2017, 2018 and 2019 not mapped by MTBS (i.e., small fires < 1000 acres) were selected and all pixels within were reclassed to Recently Burned (using the proper physiognomic class) using the following rules:
Grassland and Hay/pasture pixels within 2019 perimeters were reclassified to 7195;
Shrubland pixels within 2017, 2018 or 2019 perimeters were reclassified to 7196;
Forest pixels within 2017, 2018 or 2019 perimeters were reclassified to 7197;
All human development (roads, agriculture), barren (cliffs, badlands) and water pixels remained unchanged.
Process date: 06/08/2021
Process step:
2. Ecological Group Data Processing Steps 2021-2023
The Ecological Group processing steps were conducted separately on each of 14 rasters representing landscape level ecological units developed from EPA Ecoregions, USFS Ecological Units, NRCS MLRAS and 8-digit Hydrologic Units. Landcover class revisions were made to pixels within each of these rasters which were then mosaiked to create the final statewide MTLC_2023_V1.

Original LANDFIRE classes not included in MTLC 2023_v1:
• Northwestern Great Plains Aspen Forest and Parkland (7009). Selected pixels of 7009 in Ecogroup1 (Northeast Glaciated Plains Sedimentary Plains Missouri Coteau-Lower Missouri) and Ecogroup 2 (East South Central Sedimentary and Shale Plains-Yellowstone) were reassigned to Great Plains Wooded Draw and Ravine Woodland (7385) or Northwestern Great Plains Riparian (6022) based on examination of the extent and distribution of 7009 with actual site characteristics and adjacent pixel classes.
• Columbia Plateau Low Sagebrush Steppe (7124). The original mapping of this class was limited to Ecogroup 11 (Southwest Rocky Mountains Foothills and Valleys-Upper Missouri) where pixels were primarily reassigned to Inter-Mountain Basins Big Sagebrush Steppe (7125) and Inter-Mountain Basins Montane Sagebrush Steppe (7126) based on SSURGO soil map unit attributes; grassland dominated sites were reassigned to Northern Rocky Mountain Lower Montane-Foothill-Valley Grassland (7139) based on dominant adjacent pixels.
• Inter-Mountain Basins Cliff and Canyon (9006) was found to include sites occurring in badlands, rock outcrop, scree and rubble land, and other locations with limited vegetation but not representative of actual cliff or canyon topography. Based on occurrence within Ecogroups and soil map unit attributes, pixels of 9006 were reassigned to 9023, 9024, 5555, and 5556.
• Inter-Mountain Basins Shale Badland (9009). The original mapping of this class was interspersed with badlands of other parent material such as limestone or rock outcrop, non-badland sites with limited vegetation and low cover grassland and was not of sufficient accuracy, extent or distribution to be included as a separate class.

New classes added to MTLC 2023 not included in the original LANDFIRE 2016 Remap product:
• Barren or Limited Vegetation (5555)
This class was primarily used in ecological groups east of the continental divide for pixels with limited or no vegetation and not meeting the criteria of badlands, rock outcrop, scree or rubble land and may also include occurrences of unvegetated saline soils.
• Rock outcrop, Scree or Rubble Land (5556). This class includes primarily unvegetated pixels meeting the soil map unit criteria of rock outcrop, scree or rubble land and previously mapped as: 7143-Rocky Mountain Alpine Fell-Field; 7144-Rocky Mountain Alpine Turf; 7168-Northern Rocky Mountain Avalanche Chute Shrubland; 7735-North American Glacier and Ice Field; 9006-Inter-Mountain Basins Cliff and Canyon; 9016-Rocky Mountain Alpine Bedrock and Scree (in non-alpine environments); 9018-Rocky Mountain Cliff Canyon and Massive Bedrock; 7168-Northern Rocky Mountain Avalanche Chute Shrubland; 7735-North American Glacier and Ice Field (in non-alpine environments); Western Great Plains Badlands-9024; and Western Great Plains Cliff and Outcrop-9024 (where incorrectly used west of the continental divide and in the isolated mountain ranges east of the continental divide).

Process date: 01/01/2023
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Spatial Data Organization Information:
Raster object information:
Raster object type: Pixel
Row count: 17677
Column count: 30611
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Spatial Reference Information:
Horizontal coordinate system definition:
Map projection:
Map projection name: NAD 1983 2011 StatePlane Montana FIPS 2500
Lambert conformal conic:
NAD 1983 2011 StatePlane Montana FIPS 2500
Standard parallel: 45.0
Standard parallel: 49.0
Longitude of central meridian: -109.5
Latitude of projection origin: 44.25
False easting: 600000.0
False northing: 0.0
Planar distance units: meter
Geodetic model:
Horizontal datum name: D NAD 1983 2011
Ellipsoid name: GRS 1980
Semi-major axis: 6378137.0
Denominator of flattening ratio: 298.257222101
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Entity and Attribute Information:
Entity type label: VAT_MTLC_2023
Entity type definition: Attribute table

Attribute label: OID
Attribute definition: Internal feature number.
Attribute domain:
Sequential unique whole numbers that are automatically generated.

Attribute label: Value
Attribute definition:
4-digit code staring by 7, 8 or 9 (Landfire Remap EVT) or 6 (Montana-specific classes)

Attribute label: Count
Attribute definition: Number of pixels

Attribute label: MTLCID
Attribute definition:
An exact copy of the Value field, that can be used for join operations.

Attribute label: EVT_NAME_M
Attribute definition: Existing Vegetation Type Name

Attribute label: LFID_origi
Attribute definition: Original Landfire ID

Attribute label: EVT_PHYS
Attribute definition: EVT physiognomy

Attribute label: SAF_SRM
Attribute definition:
Crosswalk to Society of American Foresters and Society for Range Management cover type

Attribute label: EVT_ORDER
Attribute definition: EVT physiognomic order from FGDC classification

Attribute label: EVT_SBCLS
Attribute definition: EVT physiognomic subclass from FGDC classification

Attribute label: RED
Attribute definition: Red color value
Range domain minimum: 0
Range domain maximum: 1

Attribute label: GREEN
Attribute definition: Green color value
Range domain minimum: 0
Range domain maximum: 1

Attribute label: BLUE
Attribute definition: Blue color value
Range domain minimum: 0
Range domain maximum: 1

Attribute label: SNAME
Attribute definition:
Montana version of NatureServe's Ecological Systems; for detailed descriptions, range, distribution, state ranks and addition information go to

Attribute label: ESLF_CODE
Attribute definition: Ecological Systems code

Attribute label: LEVEL1
Attribute definition:
Landcover class generally based on vegetative physiognomy (i.e. grassland, shrubland, forest), but also include aquatic and alpine cover classes, as well as human land uses.

Definition of
Attribute Value
Recently Disturbed or Modified Recently burned or harvested vegetation, and introduced upland and riparian vegetation
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems All natural shrub/scrub systems, with the exclusion of alpine and riparian systems. Shrubland: Shrubs generally greater than 0.5m tall with individuals or clumps overlapping to not touching (generally forming more than 25% cover, trees generally less than 25% cover). Shrub cover may be less than 25% where it exceeds tree, dwarf-shrub, herb, and nonvascular cover, respectively. Vegetation dominated by woody vines is generally treated in this class. Dwarf shrubland: Low-growing shrubs usually under 0.5 m tall. Individuals or clumps overlapping to not touching (generally forming more than 25% cover, trees and tall shrubs generally less than 25% cover).
Human Land Use Developed areas in rural or urban settings (including roads), strip mines and gravel pits, and agricultural lands
Grassland Systems All natural herbaceous systems, with the exclusion of alpine and riparian systems. Herbaceous: Herbs (graminoids, forbs, and ferns) dominant (generally forming at least 25% cover; trees, shrubs, and dwarf-shrubs generally with less than 25% cover). Herb cover may be less than 25% where it exceeds tree, shrub, dwarf-shrub, and nonvascular cover, respectively.
Sparse and Barren Systems Badlands, dunes, and cliffs and canyons, that are characterized by sparse vegetation or are unvegetated. Abiotic substrate features dominant. Vegetation is scattered to nearly absent and generally restricted to areas of concentrated resources (total vegetation cover is typically less than 25% and greater than 0%).
Forest and Woodland Systems All natural forest and woodland systems, with the exclusion of riparian systems.
Alpine Systems Barren substrate or herbaceous and low shrubby vegetation above mountain timberline.
Open Water/Wetland and Riparian Systems Natural systems located in areas where the soil or substrate is periodically saturated with or covered with water.

Attribute label: LEVEL2
Attribute definition:
Landcover subclass values at the intermediate level of classification that incorporates information on elevation and climate.

Attribute label: GNAME
Attribute definition:
NatureServe's Ecological Systems; for detailed descriptions go to

Attribute label: SNAME_url
Attribute definition:
An url link to the Montana Field Guide ecological system description. The link is live from the query box once the raster is displayed.

Attribute label: BPS_ZONE
Attribute definition: LANDFIRE Map zone(s) which contain the class

Attribute label: BPS_MODEL
Attribute definition:
Landfire BPS code (map units are based on NatureServe's Ecological Systems classification and represent the natural plant
communities that may have been present during the reference period) followed by the BPS ZONE.

Attribute label: BPS_url
Attribute definition:
A url link to the LANDFIRE Biophysical Setting Model zone report where the EVT class/system is most dominant (ecological systems can occur in more than one BPS zone). The link is live from the BPS_url attribute in the query box once the raster is displayed. This link will open the full zone report, where the BPS_model number can be entered into the Adobe search tool to navigate to the specific EVT class of interest.

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Distribution Information:
Montana State Library
PO Box 201800
Helena, MT 59620-1800

Telephone: 406-444-5354
TDD/TTY telephone: Montana Relay 711
Fax: 406-444-0266

Resource description: Live Data and Maps

Distribution liability:
The Montana State Library provides this product/service for informational purposes only. The Library did not produce it for, nor is it suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying purposes. Consumers of this information should review or consult the primary data and information sources to ascertain the viability of the information for their purposes. The Library provides these data in good faith but does not represent or warrant its accuracy, adequacy, or completeness. In no event shall the Library be liable for any incorrect results or analysis; any direct, indirect, special, or consequential damages to any party; or any lost profits arising out of or in connection with the use or the inability to use the data or the services provided. The Library makes these data and services available as a convenience to the public, and for no other purpose. The Library reserves the right to change or revise published data and/or services at any time.

Standard order process:
Digital form:
Format name: Live Data and Maps
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Metadata Reference Information:
Metadata date: 01/22/2024
Metadata contact:
Jessica Mitchell
Director, Spatial Analysis Lab
University of Montana
Telephone: (406) 243-5196

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