The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) Standard was adopted in concept by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) in 2008 to guide the classification of the cultural and natural vegetation of the U.S. The Standard is intended to be:
- Useful for conservation and resource management
- Focused on classifying existing vegetation
- Hierarchical, with upper levels based on physiognomy and lower levels based on floristics
- Inclusive of both cultural and natural vegetation types
- Built from publicly available plot data whenever possible
- Revised through a peer review process
The National Vegetation Classification federal standard is a process standard. The standard itself does not contain a formal set of Classification units, but rather outlines the process by which such units are to be described, peer reviewed, and maintained through various data-management and web tools. This means that the classification is dynamic, subject to change as vegetation scientists revise or newly describe vegetation types in the United States.