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The ESA Panel provides impartial scientific expertise to agencies and individual partners in support of the development and use of a science-based national vegetation classification system.

To this end, the Panel will:

* Advance standards for peer review of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC) to facilitate improvements in classification methods and in the scope and quality of data,

* Foster and coordinate research in vegetation classification and the use of the NVC for understanding vegetation patterns and dynamics,

* Support applications of the NVC for management and conservation, research, and education objectives, and

* Promote national and international understanding of North American vegetation as a component of ecosystems that sustain the biosphere.