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SAFARI 2000 Potential Vegetation, 5-min (Ramankutty and Foley)


The data set consists of a southern African subset of the 5-min resolution Global Potential Vegetation data set developed by Navin Ramankutty and Jon Foley at the University of Wisconsin. Data are available in both ASCII GRID and binary image file formats.

The original map was derived at a 5-min resolution and contains natural vegetation classified into 15 types. This data set is derived mainly from the DISCover land cover data set, with the regions dominated by land use filled using the vegetation data set of Haxeltine and Prentice (1996). The data set represents the world's potential vegetation (i.e., vegetation that would most likely exist now in the absence of human activities), and not necessarily natural pre-settlement vegetation. This is because human activities such as fire suppression have modified the stages of succession at which vegetation communities exist.

More information can be found at:

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Ramankutty, N., and J. A. Foley. 2002. SAFARI 2000 Potential Vegetation, 5-min (Ramankutty and Foley). Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/639.


Haxeltine, A., and I. C. Prentice. 1996. BIOME3: An equilibrium terrestrial biosphere model based on ecophysiological constraints, resource availability, and competition among plant functional types. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10:693-709.

Ramankutty, Navin,and Jonathan A. Foley. 1999. Global Potential Vegetation Data. Climate, People, and Environment Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Data Format:

Information about the data format, vegetation classes, and the procedure used to create the southern African subset are in the following file:

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