Importance of Vegetation

  • Vegetation is a key component of an ecosystem and, as such, is involved in the regulation of various biogeochemical cycles, e.g., water, carbon, nitrogen.
  • Vegetation converts solar energy into biomass and forms the base of all food chains. Vegetation influences the energy balance at the earth’s surface and within the atmospheric boundary layer, often mitigating extremes of local climate.
  • Vegetation releases oxygen and sequesters carbon.
  • Vegetation affects soil development over time, generally contributing to a more productive soil.
  • Vegetation provides wildlife habitat and food.
  • Vegetation provides direct (e.g., timber) and indirect (e.g., watershed protection) socioeconomic products and services for humans.
  • Vegetation gives spiritual and cultural experiences to some people.
  • Vegetation can be easily described and mapped, and therefore can be used to:
    • monitor changes in cover, composition, and structure due to natural or human-influenced events.
    • set conservation and habitat management goals.

In order to describe and map vegetation, there is a need to classify vegetation into units that are of value for management of the vegetation resource