U.K. Communities of Woodland & Scrub Lacistemataceae Holistic Database logo Copyright F E Young 2008 Neotropical Plant Families Database Species 2000 University of Reading Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association Herbarium RNG, University of Reading, U.K.

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: National Vegetation Classification.

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) British Plant Communities: Volume 1 Woodlands & Scrub, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, ISBN13 978-0-52162-721-4

Rodwell J S (2006) National Vegetation Classification: User's Handbook, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, ISBN13 978-1-86107-574-1

Hall, J.E., Kirby, K.J., Whitbread, A.M. (2004) National Vegetation Classification Field Guide to Woodland, 117 pages A5 softback, ISBN10 1-86107-554-5.

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.

Data Sources:

Aas G, Riedmiller A (2000) Collins Nature Guide: Trees of Britian & Europe, Harper Colins Publishers, London

Biological Records Centre (2014) Online Atlas of the British & Irish Flora available online at http://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/index.php?q=title_page

Blamey M, Fitter R, Fitter A (2003) Wild flowers of Britain & Ireland, A & C Black Publishers Ltd.

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

The British Lichen Society (2014) Species Accounts available online at http://www.thebls.org.uk/resources/species-accounts

British Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI) Vice-County Census Catalogue available online at http://www.botanicalkeys.co.uk/flora/vccc/index.html

Crown Copyright (1999) Identification of injurious weeds leaflet available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69265/pb4192-injurious-weeds.pdf

Crown Copyright (1959) Weeds Act 1959 available online at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/7-8/54/contents

Discover Life (2014) Bryophyta families available online at http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Bryophyta

Ellenburg H, Weber H C, Dull R, Wirth V, Werner W, Paulissen D (1991) Zeigerwerte von Pflanzen in Mitteleuropa, Geobotanica, Vol. 18: 1-248

Fitter R, Fitter A, Farrer A (1984) Collins guide to the grasses, sedges, rushes and ferns of Britain and Northern Europe, William Collins Sons & Co Ltd, London

Hall, J.E., Kirby, K.J., Whitbread, A.M. (2004) National Vegetation Classification Field Guide to Woodland, 117 pages A5 softback, ISBN10 1-86107-554-5.

Hill M O, Mountford J O, Roy D B, Bunce R G H (1999) Ellenburg's indicator values for British Plants, Ecofact Vol. 2 Technical Annex, Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, London

Hill M O, Roy D B, Mountford J O, Bunce R G H (2000) Extending Ellenburg's indicator values to the new era: an algorithmic approach, Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 37: 3-15

Huxley A (editor-in-chief) 1999) The New Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening, Volumes 1-4, Macmillan Reference Ltd., London

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (2013) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2013.2 downloaded on 21 November 2013 at http://www.iucnredlist.org

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) (2003) Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey, Nature Conservancy Council

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (2014) The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) available online at http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-4259

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (2014) Phase 1 Habitat Classification available online at http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-4258

National Biodiversity Network (1995) Biodiversity Action Plan available online at http://habitats.nhn.org.uk

NHBS (2014) Berol Verithin Coloured Pencils: Phase 1 Habitat Survey Set available online at http://www.nhbs.com/berol_verithin_coloured_pencils_phase_1_habitat_survey_tefno_179823.html

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (2010) Northern Ireland Woodland Habitats available online at http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/biodiversity/habitats-2/woodlands.htm

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (2013) Northern Ireland Priority Species available online at http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/biodiversity/sap_uk/priority_species.htm

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/

Poland J, Clement E (2009) The vegetative key to the British Flora, John Poland Southampton & BSBI

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

Silverside A (2003) Photographs of Scottish and other British Lichens available online at http://www.lichens.lastdragon.org/index.html

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (2014) Names in the Cladoniaceae available online at http://botany.si.edu/lichens/cladoniaceae/printSyn.cfm

Stevens P F (2001 onwards) Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, Version 12 July 2012 available online at http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/Research/APweb/welcome.html

UKWildlife (2014) Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 available online at http://www.ukwildlife.com/index.php/wildlife-countryside-act-1981/

UKWildlife (2014) Schedule 8 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 available online at http://www.ukwildlife.com/index.php/wildlife-countryside-act-1981/schedule-8/

UKWildlife (2014) Schedule 9 Part 2 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act available onlin at http://www.ukwildlife.com/index.php/wildlife-countryside-act-1981/schedule-9/schedule-9-part-2/

The Woodland Trust (2014) Ancient woodland indicator species available online at http://www.backonthemap.org.uk/theproject/analysis/species

The Woodland Trust (2014) Native trees available online at http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/learn/british-trees/native-trees/

Woods R G, Coppins B J (2012) A conservation evaluation of British Lichens and Lichenicolous fungi, JNCC Species Status No. 13, Joint Nature Conservation Committee