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Vegetation means the plant life of a region or the plant community. It means all ground cover by plants, and is the main element of the biosphere. When you say vegetation you do not think of any species composition, life forms, structure, spatial extent, "naturalness", or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. That is meant by flora which refers exclusively to species composition.
Vegetation can refer to a wide range of spatial scales. Primeval redwood forests, coastal mangrove stands, sphagnum bogs, desert soil crusts, roadside weed patches, wheat fields, cultivated gardens and lawns; all are meant by the term vegetation.
- Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States Volume I – The National Vegetation Classification System: Development, Status, and Applications (PDF)
- Federal Geographic Data Committee Vegetation Subcommittee
- Vegetation Classification Standard [FGDC-STD-005, June 1997] (PDF)
- USGS - NPS Vegetation Mapping Program
- Checklist of Online Vegetation and Plant Distribution Maps
- Free Vegetation Distribution Site – "free access to almost the entire Spot Vegetation ten daily synthesis archive"