Vegetation Condition Benchmarks are maintained within the BioNet Vegetation Classification data collection.
The Benchmarks describe the reference state to which sites are compared to score their site-scale biodiversity values or set goals for management or restoration. The 3 primary attributes of biodiversity; composition, structure and function are described by benchmarks. When scores for composition, structure and function are combined into a vegetation integrity score, they provide the rigour and transparency needed to make site-scaled comparisons of biodiversity values to inform natural resource management decision making tools such as the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM).
A vegetation integrity score represents the degree to which the composition, structure and function of the vegetation type at a site differs from the best-on-offer condition. Best-on-offer sites are those sites within the contemporary landscape with higher numbers of native plant species, greater structural complexity and replete with functional components, relative to other sites within the same vegetation type and bioregion.
Benchmarks have been created for more than 650 extant regional vegetation classes (RVCs), which are an amalgamation of bioregions (IBRA version 7) and NSW Vegetation Classes. Composition benchmarks (growth form species richness) and structure benchmarks (growth form summed foliage cover) used data from more than 36,000 full-floristic 0.04 ha plots. Function benchmarks (number of large trees, length of logs and cover of litter) used data from approximately 39,000 records from 0.1 ha plots.
The most recent benchmark upload contains benchmarks for preceding wet and dry conditions as well as average rainfall conditions. These are based on the same Cover and Richness raw data V1.2. For guidance on the use of wet and dry benchmarks see Guidance for assessors and decision-makers in applying modified benchmarks to assessments of vegetation integrity.
Benchmarks are automatically attributed to each PCT based on the NSW Vegetation Class to which it is assigned and the IBRA region/s in which it is located. Benchmarks have been automatically attributed to the revised PCTs for eastern NSW (coast and tablelands bioregions).
The most up-to-date, comprehensive and approved vegetation condition benchmark data are maintained in the BioNet Vegetation Classification application. They can be accessed directly from the BioNet application using the How to access vegetation condition benchmark data from BioNet Quick Guide, or via the BioNet Web Service using the refreshable BioNet Plant Community Types Benchmarks data Microsoft Excel power query. For science reproducibility purposes a static copy of the raw V1.2 data underpinning the scientific publications is also available below.