Ecologists at the Montana Natural Heritage Program systematically collect information to help identify and understand our state’s diverse natural communities. We use the National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS), which provides a hierarchical classification framework that is scientifically sound, consistent and flexible. Complementary to the NVCS, natural resource agencies have developed other methods to classify and map ecosystems of the United States and Montana. This information helps with effective management of thousands of species and interactions that would be impossible to manage individually.
Natural communities are assemblages of species that respond similarly to environmental conditions such as climate, soil, topography, geology, and hydrology. Communities, also called habitat types, are commonly identified by the dominant and/or characteristic plant species - but they also represent the myriad biological and environmental interactions that are inherently a part of each unique natural system.
MTNHP Ecology Resources
- National Vegetation Classification Standard
- 2002 List of Ecological Communities for Montana
- Community Rank Explanation
- Plant Associations of the Beaverhead Mountains: Vegetation Key and Descriptions
- Ecology Presentations
- Montana Land Cover Atlas
- North American Community Information
- Montana Wetlands Legacy
- Montana Wetlands Clearinghouse
- N. Rockies Aquatic Plant Community Classification