Land Use/Land Cover

The Land Cover/Land Use (LCLU) database records all Montana natural vegetation, land cover and land use, classified from satellite and aerial imagery, mapped at a scale of 1:100000, and interpreted with supporting ground-level data.

Data and Documentation

MSDI Montana Land Use/Land Cover Data

Land Use/Land Cover data is provided for the entire state of Montana as an Esri file geodatabase.  The data are stored in the Montana State Plane Coordinate System.

Land Use/Land Cover Framework Web Service

This application provides access to the Montana Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) Land Use/Land Cover dataset. This service displays the MSDI Framework Land Use/Land Cover as compiled by the Montana Natural Heritage Program. This is the 2016 version, which has been modified substantially since 2010 and 2013, especially with regards to human land uses and the effects of wildfire and insect damage. There are three levels of grouping that can be displayed at ANY scale. Beyond 1:2,000,000 scale, the default grouping is Level 1, with 8 broad categories. From 1:2,000,000 to 1:250,000, the default is Level 2, with 27 categories. Beyond 1:250,000, each Land Cover value has its own unique value, and corresponds to Level 3 ecological systems.

Land Use/Land Cover Database Documentation

For more information on the Land Use/Land Cover categories used in the data, see the Montana Ecological Systems Field Guide and the Ecological Systems Field Guide Help File.


The Montana Natural Heritage Map Viewer is an interactive map that can perform a variety of tasks to access and use MTNHP databases and information. It includes tools to view, query, and summarize, land cover data and land management data. It has tie-ins to the Montana Field Guide and allows users to access and view over 12,000 geo-referenced photos of habitats across Montana.


The Land Use/Land Cover Framework is a baseline digital raster map of Montana natural and human land cover. The Framework uses ecological systems and human land uses as its mapping units. Ecological systems occur in similar physical environments, and are influenced by similar events such as flooding, fire, wind, and snowfall. They can be classified from aerial or satellite imagery, and are easily identifiable in the field. Primary users of this theme include land and wildlife management agencies, county and local planners, academic and agency researchers, and recreationists. Because pixel size for the data is 30m, the data are best used at a 1:100,000 scale or greater.