Vegetation mapping methods have dramatically evolved over the years. Instead of field mapping and photo-interpretation, there are now more accurate and efficient ways to map vegetation across a landscape. One of the most common ways is by observing and analyzing the special distribution of certain vegetation and specific environmental variables. This is called predictive vegetation modeling.
In order to accurately make this vegetation model, one must need maps of environmental variables and spatial information about the specific vegetation that is being emphasized. The relationship between the environment and vegetation can either be observed or further analyzed. The results of the map is either a static or equilibrium model. The static models are the most prevalent and constructable. They measure the temperature, precipitation, elevation, elevation-derived terrain variables, and surface composition of the area being studied. These models are useful to draw conclusions about where the different types of vegetation is most likely to be located.
Miller, Jennifer, and Janet Franklin. Modeling the Distribution of Four Vegetation Alliances Using Generalized Linear Models and Classification Trees with Spatial Dependence. San Diego: Ecological Modeling, 2002. Print.