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An alternative simplified version of the VECEA potential natural vegetation map for eastern Africa

posted on 2015-02-25, 11:34 authored by Paulo Van BreugelPaulo Van Breugel, Roeland Kindt, Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø, Lars Graudal

Spatial data layer containing the potential natural vegetation map of eastern Africa and documentation describing the methodology used to create this map.

This data set consists of a spatial data layer (raster layer at geotif format) describing the potential natural vegetation of eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia). The map is based on the potential natural vegetation (PNV) map for eastern Africa developed by the VECEA (Vegetation and Climate change in East Africa) project, which was also the one who created the present map. This map is based on historical vegetation maps, developed during the 50s to 70s of the twenties' century. It is available on, including a detailed documentation of the individual vegetation types and a description of the methodology used to create the map.

The original PNV map can be used e.g., as baseline in assessments of vegetation change, reforestation options and conservation assessments. One problem for regional analysis is that not all PNVs were consistently mapped across the region. A number of the vegetation types were mapped in one country individually, while mapped as part of a more aggregated vegetation type in other countries. This was done to maintain the maximum level of information available. However, this may be sub-optimal for regional level assessments.

Most locations in the region are classified as one unique PNV. However, there are also a number of areas where the vegetation was classified as a compound vegetation type (i.e., consisting of two or more vegetation types. In these cases the existing historical maps, documentation and available expert knowledge was not conclusive as to the exact nature of the potential natural vegetation in that area. For estimations of e.g., area statistics one would ideally be able to classify each location as a unique PNV.

The objective of the work presented in this manuscript was to harmonize the vegetation classification across the different countries in the eastern Africa region. Furthermore, to be able to estimate area statistics for the different PNVs, we also split compound vegetation types into unique PNVs. The latter was done using environmental distribution modelling based on the distribution of the PNVs in the original map.

File set
The file set consists of a manuscript detailing the methods used to create the revised and a simplified potential natural vegetation map and the data layer created (a raster file in geotif format). If you use the data, we are requesting you to notify us of the intended use (