Report 302
Review of coverage of the National Vegetation Classification
(2000)
Rodwell, J.S., Dring, J.C., Averis, A.B.G., Proctor, M.C.F., Malloch, A.J.C., Schaminée, J.N.J., & Dargie T.C.D.,
This publication presents the results of the JNCC commissioned review of the coverage of the NVC in 1998. It contains information on the current coverage of the NVC; identifies both the known and likely gaps in the plant community descriptions; and places these new types into the phytosociological scheme of the NVC.

Summary

 
The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) was commissioned in 1975 by the former Nature Conservancy Council to provide a comprehensive and systematic catalogue and description of the plant communities of Great Britain. The original specification for the work has been completed with the publication of the fifth and final volume of British Plant Communities (Rodwell 2000).
 
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is responsible for maintaining the NVC and developing its use as a UK standard for the description of vegetation. This is important as the NVC has been used to implement key aspects of national and international site designation legislation. It has been used as the main classification for terrestrial habitats in Guidelines for Selection of Biological SSSIs (JNCC 1995), and has been used to interpret Annex I of the Habitats Directive where relevant (Brown et al. 1997).
 
Not only has the NVC been accepted as a standard by the nature conservation and countryside organisations, but also by forestry, agriculture and water agencies, local authorities, non-government organisations, major industries and universities. For example, it has been recommended as a standard methodology for use in environmental assessments and statements by the Institute of Environmental Assessors (IEA 1995). It has been widely welcomed as providing a much needed common language in which the character and value of the vegetation of Britain can be understood.
 
The original aim of the NVC was to cover all natural, semi-natural and major artificial habitats in Great Britain (but not Northern Ireland), covering virtually all terrestrial plant communities, and those of brackish and fresh waters, except where no vascular plants were the dominants. Since the publication of British Plant Communities, use of the NVC and comparison with European phytosociological classification systems has revealed that there are types of British vegetation which have still to be described.
 
As a result, the JNCC commissioned a review of the coverage of the NVC in 1998. This review has produced information on the current coverage of the NVC; identified both the known and likely gaps in the plant community descriptions; and placed these new types into the phytosociological scheme of the NVC. This publication presents the results of this review.
 
Much work has been undertaken both within and outside the conservation agencies on the description of plant communities and JNCC recognises the value of this work. Therefore, in consultation with others, the JNCC intends to establish a code or protocol that will circumscribe rules for the description of new variation in the NVC. The code would provide minimum standards for the description of new communities or sub-communities and a formal process for their validation and publication. An expert committee will be established and given authority to validate the descriptions of new types and ensure that the standards of the code are met.
 
In publishing this report it is the intention of the JNCC to seek further response on the results of the review. Anyone wishing to comment on the content of this report or the development of a code should do so to: Habitats Team, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough, PE1 IJY.
 
 
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92 pages
ISSN 0963 8091
 
Please cite as: Rodwell, J.S., Dring, J.C., Averis, A.B.G., Proctor, M.C.F., Malloch, A.J.C., Schaminée, J.N.J., & Dargie T.C.D.,, (2000), Review of coverage of the National Vegetation Classification, JNCC Report 302, 92 pages, ISSN 0963 8091