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Human Habitats

Human habitats intersect a wide array of landscape types. The following list describes the major types of human habitats.

Rural Residential

These include areas with a mixture of constructed materials and vegetation. Impervious surfaces account for 20-49 percent of total cover. These areas most commonly include single-family housing units. The houses are found in forest, farmland or rangeland areas. Developed open spaces, such as parks, golf courses, developed campgrounds and ball fields are included here.

Rural Transition

These are forested, rangeland, or natural habitats where current development is underway. Impervious surfaces are less than 20%, but natural processes or natural resource management can be limited.


These are the most developed areas in the landscape. It includes areas characterized as low density residential, medium density developed, and urban and industrial areas. They include a high number of land-cover types, including areas with a mixture of constructed materials and vegetation. Impervious surfaces account for 50-100 percent of total cover.

Agricultural Lands

These are areas characterized by vegetation that has been planted or is intensively managed for the production of food, feed, or fiber; or is maintained in developed settings for specific purposes. They include high structure agriculture such as orchards, berries and nurseries, row crops, grass seed and pasture. Often, the type of crop planted can influence what wildlife species use agricultural lands, and the different types of agriculture distinguished in landcover maps are often treated separately.

Conservation Reserve Program Lands

CRP lands are agricultural lands planted to native or introduced species to create wildlife habitat. They are variable, often composed of introduced perennial grasses but sometimes include native riparian woodlands, upland native shrublands, or other natural habitats.

Non-native or Exotic Grasslands, Herbaceous or Shrublands

These are places where non-native grasses or shrubs are the primary species. They include three landcover types: Non-Natural Woody, Non-Natural Shrub, and Annual Grasslands. The most common dominants are Scots broom and gorse in western Oregon, and cheatgrass in eastern Oregon, although many other species are beginning to dominate other areas, particularly introduced perennial grasses such as false brome.

Authored by Jimmy Kagan, INR Information Program Manager (2008)