Vegetation Information System: Classification

The standard operational classification hierarchy for native vegetation in NSW incorporates three nested classifications as shown in Figure 1. The plant community types and their relationships to vegetation formations and classes are maintained in the Vegetation Information System (VIS) Classification database.

Figure 1: NSW vegetation classification hierarchy

Figure 1: NSW vegetation classification hierarchy

NSW plant community type classification

The NSW plant community type (PCT) classification was developed in 2011 to establish an unambiguous master community-level classification for use in vegetation mapping programs, BioMetric-based regulatory decisions, and as a standard typology for other planning and data gathering programs.

The PCT classification consolidated two existing community-level classifications:

The PCT classification is maintained in the VIS Classification database. All changes to the PCT classification are evidence based, and moderated by the Plant Community Type Change Control Panel chaired by the NSW Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. A series of classification projects are underway to upgrade the PCT classification on the NSW east coast.

As an adjunct to the VIS Classification online version, OEH has developed the Plant Community Type Identification Tool as a stand-alone aid to identify plant community types in the field. The PCT Id Tool can be downloaded onto your PC or laptop and once installed does not require an internet connection to function. For more information, and to download the PCT Id Tool, go to the PCT Identification Tool Home Page.

VIS Classification database

Information about PCTs and their relationship to vegetation formations and classes (Keith 2004) is now managed in the VIS Classification database, along with the BioMetric Vegetation Types classification, BioMetric Vegetation Condition Benchmarks data and the Overcleared Landscape data. PCT information is exported periodically for upload to these regulatory tools and other regulatory processes including property vegetation planning and BioBanking. More information on PCTs is included in the Frequently asked questions section.

Accessing the VIS Classification database

Anyone can register online as a public user of the VIS Classification database, which will allow them to search the database for communities, produce reports and export data. The database supports ‘editor users’, but this role is restricted to approved specialist users. 

 

Alterations to the data in the database can only be undertaken by registered editor users via the VIS Classification Edit User interface

Resources to Assist Users

More information

For more information or support please contact bionet@environment.nsw.gov.au

References

Benson JS 2006, ‘New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Introduction - the classification, database, assessment of protected areas and threat status of plant communities’, Cunninghamia 9(3) (PDF 6.7MB): 331-381, Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney.

Benson JS 2008, ‘New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Part 2 Plant communities in the NSW South-western Slopes Bioregion and update of NSW Western Plains plant communities. Version 2 of the NSWVCA database’. Cunninghamia 10(4) (PDF 8.18 MB): 599-673, Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney.

Benson JS, Allen CB, Togher C, Lemmon J. 2006. New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Part 1 Plant communities of the NSW Western Plains. Cunninghamia. 9(3) (PDF 7.42MB): 383-450.

Benson JS, RichardsPG, Waller S and Allen CB. 2010. New South Wales Vegetation Classification and Assessment: Part 3 Plant communities of the NSW Brigalow Belt South, Nandewar and west New England Bioregions and update of NSW Western Plains and South-western Slopes plant communities, Version 3 of the NSWVCA database. Cunninghamia. 11(4) (PDF 16.6MB): 457-579.

Keith D 2004, Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes: the native vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT, NSW  National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney.

Executive Steering Committee for Australian Vegetation Information (ESCAVI) 2003, Australian Vegetation Attribute Manual: National Vegetation Information System, Version 6.0, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Page last updated: 01 December 2016