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The data set is a subset of a global potential vegetation data set developed by Navin Ramankutty and Jon Foley (1999) at the University of Wisconsin. The subset was created for the study area of the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA), which is defined as 10° N to 25° S, 30° to 85° W. The data are in ASCII GRID format.

The original global map (Ramankutty and Foley 1999) was derived at a 5-min resolution, and it classified natural vegetation into 15 types. The global data set was derived mainly from the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme's DISCover land cover data set, and the regions that were dominated by land use were 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 does not necessarily represent natural, pre-settlement vegetation. Human activities such as fire suppression have modified the stages of succession at which vegetation communities exist.

More information can be found at

LBA was a cooperative international research initiative led by Brazil. NASA was a lead sponsor for several experiments. LBA was designed to create the new knowledge needed to understand the climatological, ecological, biogeochemical, and hydrological functioning of Amazonia; the impact of land use change on these functions; and the interactions between Amazonia and the Earth system. More information about LBA can be found at

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Ramankutty, N., and J. A. Foley. 2003. LBA Regional 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/684.


Belward, A. S., ed. 1996. The IGBP-DIS global 1 km land cover data set (DISCover)- Proposal and implementation plans. IGBP-DIS Working Paper No. 13. International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme Data and Information Services, Toulouse, France.

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, N., and J. A. Foley. 1999. Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Ramankutty, N., and J. A. Foley. 1999. Global Potential Vegetation Data. Climate, People, and Environment Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Available on-line at

Data Format:

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

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