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The Olson Vegetation data set represents the world's Major Ecosystem Complexes ranked by the amounts of carbon in live vegetation. It was compiled by Jerry Olson, J. Watts and L. Allison at the Environmental Sciences Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA. The data set has a one-half degree latitude/longitude spatial resolution and a total of 44 land ecosystem classes; these classes were devised in a global format to facilitate the ongoing evaluation of estimated carbon in plants, and changes to this "source or sink".
The data set was compiled from patterns of pre-agricultural vegetation, modern aerial surveys and intensive biomass data from research sites. According to the authors, some of the uses of the Major Ecosystems Complexes data set are as a reference base to interpret the role of vegetation in global CO2 cycling; a basis for improved estimates of carbon content of soil and vegetation; and a means of correcting estimates of carbon released into the atmosphere in recent times due to continuing changes in vegetation patterns.
The Major Ecosystems Complexes data file consists of 360 rows (lines) by 720 columns (elements/pixels/samples) of data, and one byte/eight bits per pixel. The data file origin is at 90 degrees North latitude and 180 degrees West longitude, and it covers the entire globe to 90 degrees South latitude and 180 degrees East longitude. At one-half degree spatial resolution, this data file comprises .26 Megabytes.
The reference for this data set is "Olson, J. S., J. A. Watts and L. J. Allison, 1983. Carbon in Live Vegetation of Major World Ecosystems, Report ORNL-5862, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA." The source of this data set as obtained by GRID is the U. S. National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) in Boulder, Colorado USA.
LEGEND: Class no. Class Explanation _________ _________________ 0 Water Bodies 1-16 (not used) 17 Antarctica 18 (not used) 19 (not used) 20 Mostly taiga and other conifer; Main Taiga 21 Mostly taiga and other conifer; Main Taiga 22 Mostly taiga and other conifer; Other Conifer 23 Mostly mid-latitude broad-leaved and mixed; Mixed Woods (deciduous to evergreen broad-leaved, often with conifer) 24 Same as class #23 25 Mostly mid-latitude broad-leaved and mixed; Temperate broad-leaved forest 26 Same as class #25 27 Mostly taiga and other conifer; Other Conifer 28 Tropical savanna or montane; Tropical Montane Complexes (tall or dwarfed forest; grass, scrub, paramo, rock) 29 Main Tropical/Subtropical Forest; Broad-Leaved Humid Forest 30 Other Crop, Settlements, and Marginal Lands; Cool or cold farms, towns 31 Other Crop, Settlements, and Marginal Lands; Warm or hot farms, towns 32 Main Tropical/Subtropical Forest; Dry Forest and Woodland 33 Same as class #29 34 (not used) 35 (not used) 36 Irrigated land and surroundings; Paddyland 37-39 Irrigated land and surroundings; Other Irrigated Dryland 40 Main Grassland or shrubland; Cool grassland/scrub 41 Main Grassland or shrubland; Warm or hot shrub and grassland 42 Cold Grass or Stunted Woody Complex; Tibetan, Siberian 43 Tropical savanna or montane; Tropical Savanna and Woodland 44 Bog/Mire of Cool or Cold Climates 45 Warm or Hot Wetlands (Mangrove/Tropical Swamp Forest) 46 Other dry woods mosaics; Wood/Scrub/Grass Complexes, Mediterranean types 47 Other dry woods mosaics; Wood/Scrub/Grass Complexes, Other dry or highland woods 48 Other dry woods mosaics; Semiarid Woodland or Low Forest 49 Nonpolar desert or semidesert; Sparse (rocky) vegetation 50 Nonpolar desert or semidesert; Sand Desert 51 Nonpolar desert or semidesert; Other Desert and Semidesert 52 Nonpolar desert or semidesert; Cool Semidesert Scrub 53 Tundra, arctic desert and ice; Tundra 54 Tundra, arctic desert and ice; Tundra 55 Field/woods (allocations); Tropical woods, Temperate woods, Fields, grass, scrub 56 Forest/Field (allocations); Tropical/subtropical, humid forest, Temperate/boreal forest 57 Same as class #56 58 Same as class #55 59 Other dry woods mosaics; Wood/Scrub/Grass Complexes, Succulent and thorn woods 60 Mostly taiga and other conifer; Southern Taiga 61 Mostly taiga and other conifer; Southern Taiga 62 Northern or Maritime Taiga, subalpine 63 Cold Grass or Stunted Woody Complex; Wooded tundra 64 Main Grassland or shrubland; Heath and moorland 65-68 Shore and Hinterland Complexes 69 Tundra, arctic desert and ice; Polar or Rock Desert 70 Tundra, arctic desert and ice; Ice 71 Same as class #51 72 Same as class #45
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