Standards for Associations and Alliances of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification: Version 1.0

TitleStandards for Associations and Alliances of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification: Version 1.0
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsJennings, MD, Loucks, O, Glenn-Lewin, D, Peet, RK, Faber-Langendoen, D, Grossman, D, Damman, A, Barbour, M, Pfister, R, Walker, M, Talbot, S, Walker, J, Hartshorn, G, Waggoner, G, Abrams, M, Hill, A, Roberts, D, Tart, D

The purpose of this document is to provide both a technical and a general basis for describing and classifying the plant associations and alliances that are to be formally recognized as units of vegetation under the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC). It should be useful to practitioners, researchers, and students of vegetation ecology. The standards presented here are to be used by anybody proposing additions, deletions, or other changes to the named units of the NVC. By implementing standards for field sampling, analysis, description, peer review, archiving, and dissemination, the Ecological Society of America's Vegetation Classification Panel-in collaboration with the Federal Geographic Data Committee, NatureServe, the U.S. Geological Survey, and others-intends to advance our common understanding of vegetation and improve our capability to sustain this resource by formal, science-based processes. We begin with the rationale for developing these standards. Then the history and development of vegetation classification in the United States is briefly reviewed. Standards for establishing and revising the floristic units of vegetation include the definition of association and alliance concepts, requirements for vegetation field plots, and classification and description of associations and alliances. A standard framework for peer review of types that are proposed for inclusion in the National Vegetation Classification is provided, as is a structure for data access and management. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of future prospects of and new directions in vegetation classification. Because new knowledge will inevitably lead to the need for improvements to the standards described here, this document is written with the intention that it will be revised, with new versions produced as needed. Recommendations for revisions should be addressed to the Panel Chair, Vegetation Classification Panel, Ecological Society of America, Suite 400, 735 H St, NW, Washington, DC. Email contact information can be found at or contact the Ecological Society of America's Science Program Office, 1707 H St, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20006, Telephone: (202) 833-8773.