The NPVI quarter section based inventory was well received and extensively used by Provincial land managers and industry. However, current and anticipated pressures from a prosperous Alberta economy and projected population increases placed increased pressures on the southern Alberta landscape. Though the NPVI information was beneficial, it was difficult to tie land management issues to a specific location on the ground. There grew a need for a high quality spatial dataset to support management issues surrounding biodiversity, species at risk, public land and disposition management, carbon accounting, sustainable ranching and the petroleum and power industries. Efforts, again initiated by Alberta’s Prairie Conservation Action Plan, brought forward suggestions for a more comprehensive and detailed GIS product to meet the growing pressures of properly managing the landscape.
In 2006-2007, under the Land Use Framework-Database component, Sustainable Resource Development initiated the Grasslands Vegetation Inventory (GVI) which can be generalized as a landscape (rangeland sites) and land use (agricultural, industrial and populated areas) inventory with emphasis being placed on native characteristics. This inventory is being interpreted using high resolution 3D Color infrared imagery allowing for precise line placement and interpretation of the landscape. GVI data is digitally captured on screen as polygon, line and point features and attributed using standard forms and drop-down menus.
This inventory separates the landscape into ‘Site Types’ which can be thought of as different habitat types or land uses. Upland polygons are captured to a minimum size of 5 hectares and wetland or riparian sites to a minimum of 1 hectare. Each site type, up to four (4) per polygon, is described by tree, shrub, water and herbaceous cover as well as distribution of these cover types within the polygon. Once complete, this multiyear landscape inventory will cover the Grasslands Natural Region.