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Registration closes July 26

Education Program - Workshops and Professional Training

Vegetation Mapping

In conjunction with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and Aerial Information Systems (AIS)

Monday, August 3 - Wednesday, August 5, 2015
UC Berkeley GIF Lab, 111 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA

Instructors: Julie Evens, Vegetation Program Director, CNPS; Todd Keeler-Wolf, Senior Vegetation Ecologist, VegCAMP Program, CDFW; John Menke, Senior Vegetation Mapping Specialist, AIS

Download the print-friendly flyer for this workshop (pdf)

Target Audience: Professional botanists, ecologists, resource managers, GIS and vegetation mapping specialists. Participants should have an initial understanding of the subject matter and of GIS.

Description: Through a combination of field and computer exercises, participants will learn techniques for fine-scale vegetation mapping. Fine-scale vegetation mapping is used to…

  • Measure biodiversity
  • Assess different types, locations and acreages of vegetation types
  • Identify specific habitat requirements of target species
  • Monitor habitat changes over time
  • Adaptively manage species
  • Perform detailed landscape and watershed analyses.

Objectives: Participants will...

  • Learn about vegetation sampling, classification, and photo interpretation
  • Practice creating a vegetation map using Geographic Information Systems
  • Collect reconnaissance samples to support the 2nd edition of A Manual of California Vegetation classification
  • Practice techniques of photo interpretation, delineation, and attribution
  • Validate a vegetation map through accuracy assessment.



Registration is now open! Last day to sign up is July 26. Click here to sign up now.

Registration fees are discounted for CNPS members. If you are not a CNPS member, visit to join now and save!

Please note: class size is limited to 20 participants.

  Date CNPS Members Non-members
Vegetation Mapping Aug 3-5, 2015 $665 $695

Cancellation Policy: The last day to cancel your registration and receive any refund is Monday, July 20, 2015. Refunds may be subject to processing fees. Please send cancellation requests by e-mail to Becky Reilly, Click here for more details on the cancellation policy for CNPS workshops.


Schedule: (subject to minor changes)

Day 1 - Monday, August 3
Meet at UC Berkeley GIF Lab, 111 Mulford Hall. Indoor lecture, computer lab setting.
9:00 am Introductions and Overview of Vegetation Mapping and Field Verification
  • Introductions
  • Overview of the 3-day workshop
  • What is Vegetation, and how is it sampled and classified?
  • Introduction to vegetation mapping
11:00 am Second Overview Lecture
  • Integrated vegetation classification and mapping
  • Techniques used in vegetation mapping - manual photo interpretation, heads up digitizing, automated approaches, attribution, etc.
  • View of primary tools and information used in photo interpretation and delineation
  • Use of GIS with ArcGIS or other software
  • Review examples of AIS delineations and attributions
Noon Lunch break (please bring your own lunch and water)
1:00 pm Mapping Exercise in a Training Area
  • Interpretation of the primary imagery source for mapping, and other sources of imagery
  • Review field verification data with imagery
  • Review of previously delineated stands of vegetation in the MMWD
  • Review heads up digitizing techniques
2:30 pm Practice in Delineation and Attribution
  • Delineate stands using composition and structure of vegetation
  • Discuss attribution of variables for delineated polygons
  • Continue mapping and attribution in designated area
  • Discuss other GIS layers useful in photo interpretation (geology layers, etc.)
5:00 pm Break for the day
Day 2 - Tuesday, August 4
Meet at designated field site (TBD). Field exercises all day.
8:30 am Site Visits and Field Reconnaissance
  • Identifying stands of vegetation in select areas
Noon Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)
12:30 pm Site Visits and Field Reconnaissance, continued
  • Discussion of vegetation classification in field and difference with mapping classification
  • Collection of field reconnaissance data
  • Discussion of need to further inventory area using other protocols (e.g., Vegetation Rapid Assessment Method or plot-based methods), especially for map accuracy assessment and vegetation classification
5:00 pm Break for the day
Day 3 - Wednesday, August 5
Meet at UC Berkeley GIF Lab, 111 Mulford Hall. Indoor lecture, computer lab setting.
9:00 am Importance of field verification and map Accuracy Assessment (AA)
  • Number of samples and reconnaissance points to verify and validate both the classification and the map
  • Basics for accuracy assessment and revisions of mapping
10:30 am Mapping exercise with field verification/AA Analysis
  • Provide AA data to review mapping of previous day
  • Make corrections and updates to delineated area
noon Lunch break (please bring your own lunch and water)
1:00 pm Complete mapping exercise
3:00 pm Wrap-up discussion
  • Comparison of different mapping techniques, costs, and maps produced
  • Applications of vegetation maps for local management efforts
  • Values of integrated sampling and mapping project
  • Current or potential applications and mapping projects of workshop participants
4:00 pm Q&A, Course evaluations
4:30 pm End of Workshop


About the Instructor:
Julie M. Evens is the Vegetation Program Director for the California Native Plant Society, where she has directed CNPS vegetation projects and analyzed vegetation data for over ten years. She currently manages CNPS sampling protocols and databases, coordinates vegetation sampling and training sessions, collaborates on vegetation mapping projects with other agencies, and writes reports on vegetation classification across California. Previously, she worked as a crew leader for major vegetation projects in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and the central Mojave Desert.  Julie received her BA degrees from UC Santa Cruz and MA degree in Biology from Humboldt State University.

Dr. Todd Keeler-Wolf is an ecologist who has worked in California for over 30 years. In this time, he has had the pleasure of studying the vegetation and flora of virtually every terrestrial ecosystem in the state. Currently he is the Senior Vegetation Ecologist at the CDFW and leads their Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program (VegCAMP). He is also the Senior Advisor for the California Native Plant Society's Vegetation Program, and member of the executive committee of the Ecological Society of America's Vegetation Panel.  He is co-author with John Sawyer and Julie Evens of the Second Edition of A Manual of California Vegetation and several other books and publications, including the revised UC Press California Plant Life Natural History guide, and the recently published third edition of the Terrestrial Vegetation of California, which he co-edited with Michael Barbour and Allan Schoenherr. Todd received all his degrees at UC Santa Cruz.

John Menke is the Senior Vegetation Mapping Specialist at Aerial Information Systems, Inc. With over 30 years of experience, he has been the lead photo interpreter for the National Park Service's Vegetation Mapping Program at Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Point Reyes and Golden Gate National Parks.  He has also conducted mapping efforts for the Marin Municipal Water District, western Riverside County, the Sacramento Delta region, Napa County, and numerous other locations throughout California.

Materials Required: Please bring...

  • Clipboard
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Sturdy boots and field clothes appropriate for the weather and conditions
  • Hat and sunscreen for the field
  • Plenty of water for the field
  • Lunch & snacks
  • Compass and/with clinometer (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Digital camera (optional)
  • GPS unit (optional)

Materials Provided: CNPS will provide course materials for the field and computer exercises (e.g., slides, map printouts, exercises, reference material, and other handouts), and workstations for the vegetation mapping exercises.

Physical Requirements: Participants should be physically able to hike over uneven terrain and remain in the field for up to 8.5 hours at a time.

Workshop will be held rain or shine. We will spend approximately 33% of the time in the field.

Map and Directions:
GIF Lab, 111 Mulford Hall, UC Berkeley. See map at


If you have questions about this or any other CNPS workshops, please contact Becky Reilly, CNPS Events Coordinator, at 916-447-2677 x207 or

View the complete schedule of CNPS 2015 Plant Science Workshops

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