A Rapid Survey and Vegetation Classification System
(a) Training Manual and
(b) Software Tutorial
Traditional methods of vegetation classification can be difficult to apply in complex, tropical humid forests. A rapid, cost-effective method of surveying and classifying vegetation in forested landscape mosaics has been developed using a minimum combination of variables including vegetation structure, plant species and Plant Functional Types (PFTs). Unlike classification systems designed for specific vegetation types and climatic zones, VegClass uses a generic system that can be applied to all terrestrial vegetation where vascular plant species are found. The data acquired using this method can therefore be applied worldwide in forest and non-forest situations and used to compare and analyse data within and between regions. It is particularly well-suited to situations where management needs to be able to forecast impacts on vegetation under different management scenarios. It has been found to be highly effective in establishing regional baselines for biodiversity assessment and monitoring. The method has been successfully tested in tropical forested landscapes in more than 20 countries.
The VegClass Manual describes how the system is used in the field and gives references to global case studies that include a number of CIFOR research sites. The Software Tutorial provides information on the installation and use of the VegClass software.