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General Landscape Characteristics
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NOTICE: Land cover datasets used for USA and Canada are of differing spatial characteristics and were processed using different criteria (see metadata). Thus, caution should be exercised when making comparisons between the metrics of the USA and Canada.

The percent of selected land cover types observed throughout the Great Lakes Basin is provided to acquaint the user of this browser with the extent of land that has been assessed by this project and the distribution of these land cover types throughout the GLB.

Overview of Land Cover Types
  • Examples of wetland land cover are emergent and forested coastal wetlands.
  • Examples of forest land cover are nature reserves and woodlots.
  • Examples of urban land cover are urban centers and small rural towns.
  • An example of shrubland land cover is a thicket of non-tree woody vegetation, which is not in a wetland.
  • An example of natural grassland land cover is a non-agricultural area of herbaceous vegetation, which is not in a wetland.
  • Examples of barren land cover are a gravel pit and a sandy beach.
  • Examples of cropland land cover are a wheat field and a cornfield.
  • An example of pasture cropland is an agricultural grassy area that is likely to be used as forage by domesticated animals.
Overview of Land Cover Diversity Metrics
The Shannon-Weiner index and Simpson's index are two different ways of measuring the spatial distribution of land cover types within the landscape:
  • The Shannon-Wiener index is a measure of the diversity of land cover types throughout the landscape. The index value increases with the number of land cover types in the landscape.
  • Simpson's index is a measure of the evenness of the distribution of land cover classes throughout the landscape. Simpson's index is most sensitive to the presence of common land cover types. Simpson's index values range from 0 to 1, with 1 representing perfect evenness of all land cover types.

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