PLEASE NOTE: Parts of the key are still under development as this is such a large database. These areas state "to complete" or "to follow".
Learning your NVCs
Part One: Woodlands & Scrub Author: F E Young BSc. (Open)
, MSc. (Reading)
I'm sure you're not surprised to hear that the scientific community has classified the vegetation types of the United Kingdom. But why do we need these classifications? Its all about conservation and what needs protection for the future. Examples are: ancient woodlands, wet woodlands, rare plants.
The first of these monumental vegetation survey projects was in 1911 lead by Arthur Tansley entitled Types of British Vegetation. As this is not a history lesson I will move straight onto the current standard the British Plant Communities: ational N egetation V lassification. C
Lead by ecologist Professor John Rodwell this substantial work took two decades and was published in 1991-1992 and consists of approximately 2,500 pages in five volumes.
And they are:
Volume 1 – Woodlands & Scrub;
Volume 2 – Mires & Heath;
Volume 3 – Grasslands & Montane Communities;
Volume 4 – Aquatic Communities, Swamps & Tall-herb Fens;
Volume 5 – Maritime Communities and Vegetation of Open Habitats.
I have created this identification key using Lucid free software (version 3.3) because I wanted to identify woodland types new to me whilst tree surveying for the WDVTA.
This key is written for both amateurs and professionals. For those who struggle to identify plants (like me), to conservationists who are required to know the NVCs in order to protected rare habitats and/or the rare plants within.
If I can find funding I would like to turn this key into an Apple iPad and Android app. So if you have any suggestions please contact me at taxonomist at lacistemataceae dot org.
To enter the key click on the logo in the floating menu on the left. I suggest that you use this key in combination with these three online publications:
Rodwell J S (1991) , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, ISBN13 978-0-52162-721-4 British Plant Communities: Volume 1 Woodlands & Scrub
Rodwell J S (2006) , Joint Nature Conservation Committee, ISBN13 978-1-86107-574-1 National Vegetation Classification: User's Handbook
Hall, J.E., Kirby, K.J., Whitbread, A.M. (2004) , 117 pages A5 softback, ISBN10 1-86107-554-5. National Vegetation Classification Field Guide to Woodland
As a multi-option key these are the starting points:
1. Identify your plant;
2. Is your plant local? Are you sure it occurs in your U.K. region? Uses the U.K. Vice Counties;
3. Environmental features defined by Ellenburg Indicator Values: light, soil moisture, relative soil pH, Nitrogen availability and salt tolerance;
4. Plants of Woodland & Scrub. Pick your plants to identify Woodland & Scrub classifications;
5. Compare classifications of Woodland & Scrub - Phase 1 Habitats, Peterken Woodland Stand Types, CORINE Biotopes, National Vegetation Classification, E.U. Habitats Directive Annex 1, Foresty Commission Guide Types, Section 41 NERC Act, Scottish Biodiversity Forum Habitats;
6. Conservation - plants & habitats;
7. Miscellaneous - ancient woodland indicator plants; Invasive, poisonous & injurious plants; native/naturalised/alien?;
8. Contact information for suggestions and comments.
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British Bryological Society (2013) BBS Field Guide available online at http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/bbs/Activities/BBSFGspac.htm
The British Lichen Society (2014) Lichen Taxon Dictionary available online at http://www.thebls.org.uk/resources/lichen-taxon-database
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Northern Ireland Environment Agency (2010) Northern Ireland Woodland Habitats available online at http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/biodiversity/habitats-2/woodlands.htm
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Peterken G (1981) Peterken Woodland Stand Types, Nature Conservancy Council (available online at habitats.nhn.org.uk)
The Plant List (2013) available online at http://www.theplantlist.org/
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Rodwell JS (Editor) (1978) British Plant Communities Volume One Woodlands and scrub, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-052-162-7214
Rodwell JS (2006) National Vegetation Classification: User's Handbook, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, ISBN13 978-1-86107-574-1
RSK Carter Ecological (2014) MapInfo GIS Phase 1 Habitat Key colours available online at http://www.rskcarterecological.co.uk/downloads/Phase%201%20Key.zip
Scrub silhouette logo - http://www.umext.maine.edu/images/ecotone2.gif
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