Review of Australia’s Major Vegetation Classification ces, unsw



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Figure 1. Schematic representation of proposed vegetation classification framework. This involves a greater number of more homogeneous vegetation subgroups, which are assignable to structural vegetation groups (dashed ellipses) on the basis of their structural features (represented by shared colours of the objects) and to ecological vegetation groups (dashed rectangles) on the basis of their floristic and ecological features (represented by shared shapes of the objects). Unbroken lines represent the membership of subgroups to structural and ecological groups, respectively. Hatched shapes represent vegetation subgroups with a wide range of structural expressions, and which are therefore assignable to two or more structural groups.
The potential benefits of this dual system include the following:

  1. MVSs could be aggregated into either:

    1. major structural groupings (consistent with the current concept of MVGs) or;

    2. major ecological groupings,

providing users with alternative products that serve different applications more effectively than any single product could.

  1. MVSs would be fully nested within major ecological groupings

  2. With some relatively minor adjustments to some MVGs, revised MVSs would reduce the current overlaps whereby some MVSs are represented within multiple structurally based MVGs

  3. Enhanced ecological homogeneity at the MVS level would facilitate:

    1. more detailed descriptions of the units;

    2. explicit diagnostic keys for identification; and

    3. successful modelling of their distributions using environmental spatial data due to the tighter relationships between the occurrence of the subgroups and environmental variables.

A proposed typology of ecological subgroups and their relationships to existing structurally defined Major Vegetation is given in Table 2. The proposed subgroups are unlikely to represent the full range of variation within all major groups. Detailed recommendations for subgroup classifications within each MVG are given below. The currently proposed classification includes 82 subgroups, fewer than the notional practical limit of c. 100 units, allowing some flexibility to further resolve heterogeneous units. At this stage the proposed classification (Table 2) does not resolve major ecological vegetation groups, but such groups could be developed with a modest amount of further work. Further input and consultation with jurisdictional experts will also produce a more comprehensive typology of subgroups that corresponds well with established state typologies within a parsimonious number of approximately 100 subgroups. See detailed recommendations for each MVG for specific options to develop the subgroup level of the classification.


Table 2. Proposed subgroups within Structural Vegetation Groups (MVGs). Note: subgroups have been matched as closely as possible to existing MVS numbers, although there may be some variation in concepts (see Recommendation 3 below).

MVG NO

MVG name

MVS NO

Subgroup name

Representation in other MVGs

1

Rainforests and Vine Thickets

1

Cool temperate rainforest

 

2

Tropical and sub-tropical rainforest

 

6

Warm Temperate Rainforest

 

62

Dry rainforest and vine thickets

 

##

Monsoon vine forests

 

2

Eucalypt Tall Open Forests

3

Subtropical broadleaf wet sclerophyll forests

 

##

Cool temperate ferny wet sclerophyll forests

 

54

Subtropical open wet sclerophyll forests

MVG 3

60

Cool temperate open wet sclerophyll forests

MVG 3

##

Western wet sclerophyll forests

 

3

Subtropical and Temperate Eucalypt Open Forests

4

Eastern dry shrubby sclerophyll forests

 

5

Dry shrub/grass sclerophyll forests

 

##

Western dry shrubby sclerophyll forests

 

##

Riparian eucalypt forests

 

54

Subtropical open wet sclerophyll forests

MVG 2

60

Cool temperate open wet sclerophyll forests

MVG 2

4

Tropical Eucalypt Open Forests

##

Tropical eucalypt savannah forest

 

5

Eucalypt Woodlands

9

Eastern temperate grassy woodlands

 

59

Subalpine woodlands

 

##?

Western temperate shrubby woodlands

 

65

Semi-arid floodplain and wadi woodlands

MVG 11

8

Semi-arid upland woodlands

MVG 11

6

Acacia Forests and Woodlands

13

Brigalow forests and woodlands

 

##

Gidgee woodlands

MVG 13

14

Upland tropical Acacia Woodlands

 

20

Stony mulga woodlands and shrublands

MVG 13, 16

7

Callitris Forests and Woodlands

12

Callitris forests and woodlands

MVG 31

8

Casuarina Forests and Woodlands

26

Calcareous sandplain woodlands

MVG 31

##

Eastern floodplain/estuarine forests

 

##

River oak forests

 

9

Melaleuca Forests and Woodlands

15

Tropical sandplain woodlands

MVG 31

##

Tropical riparian forests

 

##

Tropical floodplain forests

 

##

Sandplain wetland forests and woodlands

 

10

Other Forests and Woodlands

58

Leptospermum forests and woodlands

 

11

Tropical mixed spp forests and woodlands

 

50

Banksia woodlands

 

16

Other forests and woodlands




11

Eucalypt Open Woodlands

18

Desert eucalypt woodlands

 

8

Semi-arid upland woodlands

MVG 5

65

Semi-arid floodplain and wadi woodlands

MVG 5

12

Tropical Eucalypt Woodlands/Grasslands

7

Tropical Eucalyptus woodlands with a tall annual grassy understorey

 

13

Acacia Open Woodlands

22

Semi-arid myall woodlands

 

23

Sandplain Acacia woodlands and shrublands

MVG 16

24

Arid myall woodlands

 

##

Gidgee woodlands

MVG 6

20

Stony mulga woodlands and shrublands

MVG 6, 16

14

Mallee Woodlands and Shrublands

27

Triodia mallee

MVG 32

55

Shrubby mallee

MVG 32

61

Chenopod mallee

MVG 32

29

Heathy mallee

MVG 32

##

Western mallee

MVG 32

15

Low Closed Forests and Tall Closed Shrublands

28

Littoral scrubs

 

16

Acacia shrublands

20

Stony mulga woodlands and shrublands

MVG 6, 13

23

Sandplain Acacia woodlands and shrublands

MVG 13

17

Other Shrublands

49

Melaleuca shrublands and open shrublands




57

Lignum shrublands and wetlands

 

32

Other shrublands

 

80

Sparse shrublands

 

18

Heathlands

30

Southwest heathlands

 

##

Eastern heathlands

 

##

Montane and alpine heathlands

 

##

Tropical heathlands

 

19

Tussock Grasslands

34

Tropical arid grasslands

 

36

Temperate tussock grasslands

 

##

Alpine grasslands and herbfields

 

20

Hummock Grasslands

33

Hummock grasslands

 

21

Other Grasslands, Herblands, Sedgelands and Rushlands

38

Mires

 

63

Coastal floodplain meadows and lagoons

 

##

Inland wetland complex

 

41

Brackish reedlands and sedgelands

 

22

Chenopod Shrublands, Samphire Shrublands and Forblands

31

Sandplain bluebush shrublands

 

##

Clay plains saltbush shrublands

 

##

Gibber chenopod shrublands

 

39

Coastal saltmarshes

 

##

Salt lake samphires

 

23

Mangroves

40

Mangroves

 

24

Inland aquatic - freshwater, salt lakes, lagoons

43

Salt lakes and lagoons

 

44

Freshwater, dams, lakes, lagoons or aquatic plants

 

25

Cleared, non-native vegetation, buildings

98

Cleared, non-native vegetation, buildings

 

26

Unclassified native vegetation

97

Unclassified native vegetation

 

27

Naturally bare - sand, rock, claypan, mudflat

42

Naturally bare, sand, rock, claypan, mudflat

 

28

Sea and estuaries

46

Sea, estuaries (includes seagrass)

 

29

Regrowth, modified native vegetation

90

Regrowth or modified forests and woodlands

 

91

Regrowth or modified shrublands

 

93

Regrowth or modified chenopod shrublands, samphire or forblands

 

92

Regrowth or modified graminoids

 

30

Unclassified Forest

96

Unclassified Forest

 

31

Other Open Woodlands

26

Calcareous sandplain woodlands

MVG 8

15

Tropical sandplain woodlands

MVG 9

12

Callitris forests and woodlands

MVG 7

79

Other open woodlands

 

72

Desert oak woodlands

 

32

Mallee Open Woodlands and Sparse Mallee Shrublands

xx

Western mallee

MVG 14

29

Heathy mallee

MVG 14

55

Shrubby mallee

MVG 14

61

Chenopod mallee

MVG 14

27

Triodia mallee

MVG 14

99

Unknown/no data

99

Unknown/No data




Updated descriptions for Major Vegetation Groups
Updated fact sheets for 30 MVGs and new fact sheets for two MVGs are given in Appendix A. The descriptions of MVGs include proposed subgroups that represent ecological variation within the structurally defined major groups (Table 2). Where appropriate, additional photographs (licensed under creative commons by attribution) have been added to illustrate the range of variation within MVGs. In some cases, existing photos have been replaced to give a more balanced illustration of characteristic vegetation within an MVG. For example, the existing fact sheet for MVG 22 included two photographs of alpine herbfield and bolster heath, yet a large majority of the mapped distribution of MVG 22 comprises arid chenopod shrublands. In this case, the alpine photos were replaced with photos showing the range of variation in chenopod shrublands (see also specific recommendations below for MVG 22).
Diagnostic keys for subgroups within Major Vegetation Groups
Dichotomous keys to assist the identification of subgroups within each Major Vegetation Group are presented in Appendix B. These require testing and refinement to ensure optimal reliability of identification outcomes.
Recommendations
Strategic development of the classification system
The following recommendations are to support development of the Major Vegetation classification system to serve traditional and emerging needs. Some may be implementable over relatively short time frames. Others may be implemented over medium time frames as resources permit.


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