In 1926, the U.S. National Forest Service began a natural vegetation survey of California and those portions of Region 5 National Forests and adjacent areas that extended into Nevada and Oregon. The initial purpose was to provide data in support of statewide land use and fire protection policy development.
The California survey was headed by A.E. Wieslander, Associate Silviculturist with the USFS California (now Pacific Southwest) Forest and Range Experiment Station. The project became known as the Wieslander Vegetation Type Map (VTM) Survey. This Survey mapped the vegetation of 113 15-minute USGS quadrangles, and generated a number of products and data, as well as the maps. Data types included Forest Resource Maps, Supplementary Maps, approximately 13,000 Vegetation Sample Plot data sets, Site Index Maps, Herbarium Specimens, Stand Photographs, a Field Manual of data collection, a Species Symbology and Growth Form List for plant taxa, and Field Journals and Monthly Progess Reports.
In 1990, approximately 3100 photographs from the collection were transferred to the UCB campus from the PSW Station, and are currently housed in the Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library. The photographs are keyed to USGS topographical maps (Edition of 1893, reprinted 1930’s).
The Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library received funding in 2002 from the U.C. Berkeley Library to digitize the Wieslander Vegetation Type Analysis Collection of photographs and maps. Vegetation such as grass, shrubs, hardwoods, and conifers are photographed with floristic attributes and plant species information. Captions for each photograph are being recorded along with the specific data regarding location and quad information.