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Abstract

We present a hierarchical classification system for existing natural vegetation of Arkansas based on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) system. It incorporates aspects of systems in use by the Nature Conservancy, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Society of American Foresters, and United States Forest Service, as well as data on potential vegetation from maps by E.E. Dale and A.W. Kuchler. A total of 18 physiognomic cover types are recognized for natural terrestrial cover, 6 for palustrine cover, and 4 each for lacustrine cover and riverine cover. Over 200 community types are recognized, grouped into 57 cover types and 90 intermediate groupings. This system is appropriate for use with remotely sensed data and the level of detail dealt with can be rationally adjusted by working at a higher or lower level of the hierarchy. We suggest that this system form the basis for future vegetation analyses and research within Arkansas.

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