10 things to know about Alberta’s Grassland Vegetation Inventory

Alberta’s Grassland Vegetation Inventory is a recent provincial initiative with three main outcomes:

  • Grassland classification system
  • Grassland mapping specifications manual
  • Geospatial database representing a grassland vegetation inventory captured at an ecosystem- and individual- scale

  1. The grassland classification system has three primary classification streams:
    1. Natural/native
    2. Water
    3. Anthropogenic (or human-caused)
  2. Mixedgrass plant communicty guideNatural/native GVI site types are used in provincial Range Plant Community Guides. GVI is an important bridge in desktop vegetation assessments.
  3. Natural/native GVI site types are further divided following upland and wetland classification streams. Some of the native wetland site types roughly correlate with wetland classes described in the Alberta Wetland Classification System.
  4. The GVI mapping specifications manual provides details on the GVI classification system. The manual includes rationale for distinguishing between site types using aerial photography, topography, and climate indicators.
  5. The GVI mapping specifications manual provides details on how to digitize each spatial feature, including interpretation scale, attribution, and spatial priorities.
  6. The GVI mapping specifications can be found on the Prairie Conservation Forum wGrassland Vegetation Inventory Specificationsebsite.  This website is a great free resource for GVI, and has links to the mapping specifications, as well as case studies using GVI.
  7. The geospatial data can be accessed through the Government of Alberta’s GeoDiscover mapping portal. Just type in ‘GVI’ in the search bar and click on the Data Links associated with the dataset.
  8. Interpretation of the digital linework and attributes in the geospatial dataset was completed using 3D imagery and the mapping specifications manual. Interpretation was overseen by a complex quality assurance program.
  9. geospatial dataThe geospatial dataset was created by multiple environmental consulting companies and certified mappers. The dataset was created using current, low-level, infrared aerial photography draped over a digital elevation model.
  10. The geospatial data includes point and line spatial layers that represent woody vegetation features, and a polygon layer. Each polygon can represent up to three site types as described in the specifications manual.
Want to know more about GVI? Check out SALMTEC’s in-depth course 
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