Toolkit: Appendix D USGS Terrestrial Ecosystems Viewer

The USGS Natural Terrestrial Ecosystems Viewer 2011 is useful for assessing the presence or absence of native ecosystems at sites in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico.


When a specific site is selected on the map, the viewer displays ecosystems from the International Vegetation Classification (IVC) and Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (TESC) in a “hybrid” hierarchy consisting of the top 6 levels of the IVC (class, subclass, formation, division, macrogroup, group), with the ecological systems of the TESC acting as the lowest level.

The user has the option of obtaining ecosystem descriptions at any level of the hierarchy, but the three lowest levels (macrogroup, group, ecological systems) are the most descriptive at the site level and will therefore be the most useful to operators, certifiers, and inspectors. Of the three, ecological systems provide the most detail and are well suited to the scale of an individual field or farm, but the other two are also useful for obtaining more generalized ecosystem descriptions that can work fine for descriptive and verification purposes, as illustrated in some of the example verification scenarios.

Watch the video demonstration on how to use this tool.