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New York Natural Heritage Program: Classification of Natural Areas Conservancy’s Ecological Assessment Plots

By Gregory J. Edinger, Timothy G. Howard, Matthew D. Schlesinger

The New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), with the support of NAC, initiated a study to classify 1,183 vegetation plots sampled in 2013 and 2014 as part of the NAC’s citywide assessment of natural area parkland in New York City. The project produced a digital collection of the plots used for this classification effort, in database format, annotated with the vegetation. USNVC assigned and created a list and described each vegetation association documented to be in natural areas based on the plot data, developed a dichotomous field key to the vegetation, describing the process used to assess, analyze, and categorize each plot. These forest and wetland plot data are a tremendous resource for strategic planning and management of New York City’s natural resources. Having them classified to a consistent, robust, internationally recognized vegetation classification system greatly increases their utility.

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