You are on page 1of 109

D E PA R T M E N T O F N AT U R A L R E S O U R C E S , E N V I R O N M E N T A N D T H E A R T S

Northern Territory
Guidelines and
Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey
and Mapping
P. Brocklehurst, D. Lewis, D. Napier and D. Lynch
ISBN 1 92077242 1
TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 02/2007D

Northern Territory
Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping

P. Brocklehurst, D. Lewis, D. Napier and D. Lynch

Land and Vegetation


Land and Water Division
This report may be cited as:

Brocklehurst, P., Lewis, D., Napier, D., Lynch, D. (2007) Northern Territory Guidelines and Field
Methodology for Vegetation Survey and Mapping. Technical Report No. 02/2007D. Department of Natural
Resources, Environment and the Arts, Palmerston, Northern Territory.

This report is available from the DNRETA Library Resource Centre, First Floor Goyder Centre, Palmerston
and can be accessed on the DNRETA website in PDF format:
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/naturalresources/nativevegetation/vegmapping/methodology.html

Inquiries should be directed to:

Peter Brocklehurst Donna Lewis


Phone: +61 88999 3623 Phone: +61 88999 3690
Fax: +61 88999 3667 Fax: +61 88999 3667
e-mail: peter.brocklehurst@nt.gov.au e-mail: donna.lewis@nt.gov.au

Land and Vegetation


Land and Water Division
Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts
th
4 Floor Goyder Centre
25 Chung Wah Terrace
PO Box 30
Palmerston NT 0831
Australia
PREFACE
This document describes the standard methods for collecting, describing, classifying and
mapping vegetation in the Northern Territory compliant with the Australian Soil and Land
Survey Field Handbooks (Yellow Book McDonald et al., 1990 & Blue Book Gunn et al.,
1988) and in accordance with national standards of the National Vegetation Information
System.

This report is divided into two Sections: Section A - Guidelines and Section B - Field
Methodology. Section A contains background information and the principles pertaining to
vegetation survey and mapping. Section B describes methods for on-ground field
assessment. Information contained in this document is not an exhaustive treatment of all
vegetation survey and mapping aspects. Reference is given to appropriate publications
throughout.

The main objective is to recommend and promote the use of consistent methods,
procedures and terminologies on vegetation survey and mapping to an Australian standard
across all agencies in the Northern Territory. Amendments will be progressively made to
comply with future national initiatives and developments.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology i


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Guidelines and Field Methodology were made possible through the endeavours of
numerous staff members of the Land and Water Division. Particular thanks go to Jason
Hill, Dave Howe, Graeme Owen and Chris Mangion for providing content on soil and
landform information to Australian standards and comment on the Guidelines and Field
Methodology as a whole. Francis Wait is thanked for proof reading and editing the final
draft of this document.

Various Divisions of NRETA are acknowledged for providing comment including Ian Cowie
and Dale Dixon of the Northern Territory Herbarium. Alison Derry and Keith Ferdinands of
the Weed Management Branch are recognised for providing up-to date information on
collecting weeds data in the NT.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology ii


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
CONTENTS
PREFACE ............................................................................................................. I
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................ II
LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................ VI
LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................... VI
ACRONYMS ................................................................................................... VII

SECTION A: GUIDELINES ...................................... 1

1.0 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................. 1
2.0 BACKGROUND................................................................................... 2
3.0 PRINCIPLES AND TERMS.................................................................. 3
3.1 Survey Design................................................................................................................................. 4
3.2 Mapping and Map Production ....................................................................................................... 5
3.3 Classification Systems and NVIS.................................................................................................. 5

4.0 MAPPING PROCEDURES .................................................................. 7


4.1 Map Scale ........................................................................................................................................ 7
4.2 Interpretive Material........................................................................................................................ 7
4.3 Defining Map Units ......................................................................................................................... 8
4.4 Mosaics............................................................................................................................................ 9
4.5 Accuracy Assessment ................................................................................................................... 9

5.0 NVIS CLASSIFICATION FRAMEWORK AND NOMENCLATURE .. 10


5.1 NVIS Structural Classification..................................................................................................... 10

6.0 DATA ANALYSIS AND MAP ATTRIBUTION.................................... 16


6.1 Floristic Analysis .......................................................................................................................... 16
6.2 Structural Classification .............................................................................................................. 17
6.3 Polygon/Map Attribution .............................................................................................................. 17
6.4 Reporting ....................................................................................................................................... 17

7.0 DATA STORAGE .............................................................................. 18

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology iii


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
7.1 Meta Data ....................................................................................................................................... 18
7.2 Site Data......................................................................................................................................... 18
7.3 Polygon/Map Data......................................................................................................................... 19
7.4 Database Integration .................................................................................................................... 20

8.0 PRODUCTS....................................................................................... 22
9.0 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS.............................................................. 23
9.1 Vegetation Condition.................................................................................................................... 23
9.2 Non Native Vegetation Types ...................................................................................................... 25
9.3 Definitive Vegetation Types......................................................................................................... 25
9.4 Ecosystem Regionalisation ......................................................................................................... 26
9.5 Web Server Data Input Forms ..................................................................................................... 27

SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY .................. 28

1.0 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................... 28


2.0 SAMPLE SITES ................................................................................ 29
2.1 Site Types and Dimensions ......................................................................................................... 29
2.2 Site Selection and Sampling Intensity........................................................................................ 30

3.0 DESCRIBING VEGETATION ............................................................ 31


3.1 Species .......................................................................................................................................... 31
3.2 Vegetation Profiles: Stratum Concept........................................................................................ 31
3.3 Cover.............................................................................................................................................. 34
3.4 Height............................................................................................................................................. 35
3.5 Basal Area ..................................................................................................................................... 36
3.6 Foliage Projective Cover.............................................................................................................. 37
3.7 Growth Form ................................................................................................................................. 38

4.0 PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT ............................................................. 39


4.1 Integrated Information.................................................................................................................. 39
4.2 Landform Element and Pattern ................................................................................................... 39
4.3 Land Surface ................................................................................................................................. 40
4.4 Soil ................................................................................................................................................. 40

5.0 FIELD DATA VARIABLES................................................................ 42


5.1 Habitat Sheet................................................................................................................................. 44
5.2 Flora Sheet .................................................................................................................................... 51
5.3 Foliage Projective Cover Sheet................................................................................................... 52

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology iv


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
GLOSSARY.......................................................................................................53
REFERENCES ................................................................................................. 58

APPENDICES ........................................................ 62
APPENDIX 1: Primary Vegetation Datasets ..................................................................................... 62
APPENDIX 2: Overview of Vegetation Survey and Mapping Procedures..................................... 63
APPENDIX 3: Cover and Structural Formation Comparisons for Common Classification
Systems ............................................................................................................................................... 64
APPENDIX 4: Height Class Comparison for Common Classification Systems ........................... 65
APPENDIX 5: Comparison of Classification Systems Codes and Descriptions.......................... 66
APPENDIX 6: Vegetation Survey Report Formats........................................................................... 68
APPENDIX 7: Metadata Attributes .................................................................................................... 72
APPENDIX 8: Preliminary NT Vegetation Condition Indicators for Forests and Woodlands ..... 73
APPENDIX 9: Example of Eucalyptus Open Forest Synthetic Benchmark .................................. 74
APPENDIX 10: Definitive Vegetation Types Database Attributes - Example................................ 75
APPENDIX 11: IUCN Red List Categories ........................................................................................ 79
APPENDIX 12: Directions for the Collection of NT Weeds............................................................. 80
APPENDIX 13: NT Weeds Data Collection Sheet............................................................................. 81
APPENDIX 14: Landform Element and Pattern Codes and Descriptions ..................................... 82
APPENDIX 15: Common Soil Orders in the NT................................................................................ 84
APPENDIX 16: Field Data Proforma - Habitat Sheet........................................................................ 85
APPENDIX 17: Field Data Proforma - Flora Sheet ........................................................................... 87
APPENDIX 18: Field Data Proforma - Vegetation Foliage Projective Cover................................. 90
APPENDIX 19: NT Site Procedure and Equipment List .................................................................. 91

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology v


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Comparison of NT vegetation data stored in numerous databases. ............................................... 18
Figure 2. Proposed NRVIS data model. ......................................................................................................... 21
Figure 3. Cumulative scoring method. ............................................................................................................ 25
Figure 4. Sub-strata vegetation profiles for two vegetation communities (ESCAVI, 2003). ........................... 33
Figure 5. Vegetation profile height types (ESCAVI, 2003). ............................................................................ 36
Figure 6. Foliage projective cover transect set up and design. ...................................................................... 37

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Summary of primary vegetation datasets, 2006. ................................................................................ 2
Table 2. Vegetation mapping terminology. ....................................................................................................... 3
Table 3. Data resolution at various scales. ....................................................................................................... 9
Table 4. The NVIS Information Hierarchy. ...................................................................................................... 11
Table 5. NVIS height class codes and descriptions........................................................................................ 12
Table 6. NVIS cover class codes and descriptions......................................................................................... 12
Table 7. NVIS growth form codes and descriptions........................................................................................ 12
Table 8. NVIS Classification System structural formation classes. ................................................................ 14
Table 9. NVIS height classes and corresponding growth forms. .................................................................... 15
Table 10. Recommended sampling intensity for various scales of mapping. ................................................. 30
Table 11. Traditional stratum codes and NVIS sub stratum codes and descriptions. .................................... 32
Table 12. Cover and abundance measures.................................................................................................... 34
Table 13. Description of height types for stratum and growth form. ............................................................... 35
Table 14. Basal area count and suggested transect length............................................................................ 38
Table 15. Vegetation site data core attributes. ............................................................................................... 42
Table 16. Data recorded on field data proformas for sampling full sites, check sites and road notes. .......... 43

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology vi


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
ACRONYMS
ANZLIC Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council
BRS Bureau of Rural Sciences
DEH Department of Environment and Heritage
DEM Digital Elevation Model
DVT Definitive Vegetation Type
ERIN Environmental Resources Information Centre
ESCAVI Executive Steering Committee for Australian Vegetation Information
GIS Geographic Information System
GPS Global Positioning System
IBRA Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia
IUCN International Union for the Conservation of Nature
NDVI Normalised Difference Vegetation Index
NFI National Forest Inventory
NLWRA National Land and Water Resources Audit
NRETA Dept. Natural Resources Environment and the Arts
NRVIS Natural Resource Vegetation Information System
NT Northern Territory
NTG Northern Territory Government
NVIS National Vegetation Information System
RAVS Resource Assessment Vegetation System
SLATS State-wide Landcover and Trees Study
VAST Vegetation Assets States and Transitions
WoNS Weeds of National Significance

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology vii


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

1.0 INTRODUCTION
This Section provides information on vegetation survey and mapping in the Northern Territory (NT)
as currently practised by Land and Vegetation of Department of Natural Resources, Environment
and the Arts (NRETA). The Guidelines provide methods for the capture, interpretation and
management of vegetation data and information in compliance with national standards of the
National Vegetation Information System (NVIS) Framework (NLWRA, 2001; ESCAVI, 2003).

A brief outline of each chapter is provided below.

Chapter 2 provides an historic synopsis of vegetation data collection in the NT.


Chapter 3 describes common principals and terminology associated with vegetation
survey and mapping.
Chapter 4 explains vegetation mapping procedures with reference to other literature.
Chapter 5 outlines and describes vegetation classification systems and the NVIS
nomenclature.
Chapter 6 outlines the processes involved in vegetation data analysis and map
attribution.
Chapter 7 summarises the procedures required to document vegetation datasets
(metadata) and the storage of site and polygon vegetation data.
Chapter 8 lists the products that can be generated from the derivation of vegetation
survey and mapping data.
Chapter 9 describes future developments relative to native vegetation and the current
status of national initiatives.

1
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

2.0 BACKGROUND
Vegetation data is required for a number of purposes and at different levels of detail and similarly is
required at various scales and levels of attribute information. Historically, the CSIRO Land
Research Series and various sections of the former NT Conservation Commission have been the
primary providers of NT vegetation data, and responsible for the provision of vegetation, land
unit/system mapping, floristic and biodiversity surveys.

Increasingly fine scale mapping is required for management purposes at scales such as 1:25 000
and 1:50 000. Little spatial coverage of pure vegetation mapping is available at these scales for
most of the NT (Table 1). A comprehensive list of primary vegetation datasets is provided in
Appendix 1. Land unit and land system mapping contain vegetation information, however due to
their integrated nature, polygon boundaries rarely equate with homogeneous vegetation
communities.

Table 1. Summary of primary vegetation datasets, 2006.

Scale Area km2 % NT Coverage Significance


1:50 000 7 662 0.6 local

1:100 000-1:250 000 100 898 7.5 regional

1:1 000 000 1 346 200 100 national

In the NT a number of private and NT Government (NTG) agencies collect vegetation data for
various purposes. Biodiversity Conservation of NRETA collects and describes vegetation data with
little emphasis on stratum and species dominance. Data is generally collected in conjunction with
fauna surveys for habitat recognition and is usually at the association level (NVIS Level V). Data is
stored in an Access database that includes floristics, structural characteristics and environmental
information.

The NT Herbarium is also a primary collector of floristic data, mostly with information on minimal
structural characteristics and only broad descriptive information. In some instances data is
collected in conjunction with Biodiversity Conservation data. The NT Herbarium maintains the
floristic taxonomic specimen database (Holtze/Platypus) for the NT which will eventually be linked
to various environmental databases across NRETA. Also maintained is a site database that
incorporates a complete species list identified within 20m by 20m quadrats and geo-referenced
data. A survey specific database for Nitmiluk National Park is also maintained and incorporates
structural, floristic and environmental information.

The NT, unlike many other States, has been mapping vegetation for a relatively short period of
time so vegetation and land unit surveys are commonly of unmapped regions. Therefore very few
areas have been re-assessed or mapped to record temporal changes in vegetation structure,
composition or condition.

Historically, the NT has mapped type and extent of vegetation with little emphasis on vegetation
condition. Site disturbance attributes such as grazing, fire and introduced plants are recorded,
although are difficult to extrapolate spatially and temporally across the landscape.
Over the last 70 years fire regimes and introduced flora and fauna are considered to have had
some impact on native vegetation although the extent of these impacts are yet to be fully
understood.

For future developments on vegetation condition refer to Chapter 9.1.


2
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

3.0 PRINCIPLES AND TERMS


Vegetation in its most general term refers to the plant cover of the earth. Numerous terms are used
to describe vegetation by practitioners of the science (Table 2). Some terminology is very specific
while others are quite general. The following NVIS definition has been adopted as the underlying
definition for NT vegetation survey and mapping; A vegetation community is an assemblage of
plant species which are structurally and floristically similar and form a repeating unit across the
landscape. It is this repeating unit in theory that is to be mapped, quantified and described.

Throughout this document the term vegetation community will be used.

Table 2. Vegetation mapping terminology.

Term Description Source


Vegetation All plants within a specified area. It is usually considered generally
and not taxonomically. Lawrence, 1995

Vegetation A community that has a floristically uniform structure and


Meagher, 1991
Type composition, often described by its dominant species.

Vegetation In NVIS, a vegetation type is commonly represented by a


Type vegetation description. ERIN*
Plant A natural aggregate of different species of organisms existing in
Community the same environment. While species within the community
interact with each other, forming food chains and other ecological Meagher, 1991
systems, they do not generally interact with species in other
communities.
Plant Is composed of a mixture of populations of different species, each Specht & Specht,
Community of which has a finite longevity. 2002
Vegetation For the purposes of NVIS, a community is described as an
Community assemblage of plant species which are structurally and floristically
similar and form a repeating unit across the landscape. See also NVIS**
vegetation type above.
Alliance A group of floristically related associations of similar structure.
The alliance takes its name from the most characteristic dominant
species of its component associations.
Or
Beadle & Costin, 1952
A series of climax plant communities which have (i) the same
structural characteristics, (ii) related species as dominants in the
upper most stratum, and (iii) possibly the same or related species
in the understorey, can be grouped together under one alliance.
Society A series of climax plant communities which have (i) the same
structural characteristics, (ii) the same species as dominants in the
uppermost stratum, and (iii) the same species prominent in the Beadle & Costin, 1952
understorey, can be grouped together as a society

Structural A series of climax plant communities which have a similar


Formation assemblage of life forms in the overstorey stratum, although
showing considerable diversity in the composition of the species Beadle & Costin,
that are prominent in both the overstorey and understorey. 1952; Specht et al.,
1974 & 1995

3
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Structural Formation classes defined by growth form and crown separation


Formation (woody plants) or foliage cover (ground stratum), and qualified by Walker & Hopkins,
height class (i.e. NVIS Information Hierarchy Level II Structural 1990
Formation; refer to Chapter 5.1).

Association An association is defined as a climax community of which the


dominant stratum has a qualitatively uniform floristic composition
and which exhibits uniform structure as a whole.
OR Beadle & Costin, 1952
A series of climax plant communities which have (i) the same
structural characteristics, (ii) the same species as dominants in the
uppermost stratum, though (iii) possibly different floristic
composition in the understorey, can be grouped together as an
association.

Association For each stratum, the association description of the vegetation


type should include floristic information for the dominant and/or
diagnostic species (maximum of three species per stratum) plus
the structural formation (dominant growth form, cover, height are
combined). A maximum of three strata (upper, mid & ground; NVIS**
Walker & Hopkins, 1990) are allowed and the dominant stratum is
indicated by a plus symbol + (i.e. NVIS Information Hierarchy
Level V Association; refer to Chapter 5.1).

Sub- A sub division of the association determined by a variation in the


Association most important subordinate stratum of the association, without
significant qualitative changes in the dominant stratum. Beadle & Costin, 1952

Sub- In NVIS, for each layer/sub-stratum, the sub-association


Association description of the vegetation type should include floristic
information for the dominant and/or diagnostic species (maximum
of five species per sub-stratum) plus the structural formation
NVIS**
(dominant growth form, cover & height) are combined. A maximum
of eight sub strata are allowed and the dominant sub-stratum is
indicated by a plus symbol + (i.e. NVIS Information Hierarchy
Level VI Sub-association; refer to Chapter 5.1).
* ERIN: Department of Environment and Heritage Environmental Resources Information Network
** NVIS: Department of Environment and Heritage National Vegetation Information System

3.1 Survey Design

The design and implementation of a survey depend on:

1. The purpose of a survey is influenced by the scale of mapping and data detail
required. This is clearly defined at the beginning including geographic extent, type of
mapping and classification system, and
2. Resources available including funds, staff, equipment and vehicles.

The major steps involved include:

1. Establishing the aims and objectives of a survey and required outputs;


2. Defining the methods and procedures to conduct the survey and analyse data;
3. Undertaking an information search for available material and data to assist with all
components of the survey;
4. Undertaking the survey (preliminary mapping, field survey, data analysis, final
mapping & attribution), and
5. Presentation of results (reports, maps, & meta-data requirements).

4
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Currently, the majority of vegetation mapping in the NT is in an exploratory phase where new areas
are being mapped rather than existing mapped areas being remapped. The NT therefore
generates vegetation maps with static single point descriptions that rarely provide an assessment
of baseline condition or trend in vegetation communities.

For a diagrammatical overview of vegetation survey and mapping procedures refer to Appendix 2.

3.2 Mapping and Map Production

For the purpose of this document, the term unique mapping area and map unit can be used
interchangeably. A map unit refers to the predefined delineation of vegetation communities
visualised from interpretive material.

It is important to note the mapping of vegetation is not an exact science, rather an applied science
that imposes boundaries on a transition or continuum; often temporal as well as spatial. It attempts
to capture, within a unique mapping area, boundaries that are not always distinctly definable in
nature. This boundary or transition zone is called an ecotone and is often found to be more
species-rich than either of the communities it separates. An ecotone can be recognised as a
community itself, although it is generally difficult to delineate on interpretive material. Vegetation
maps are produced assuming communities are established in a manner that can be visualised
through interpretation of remote sensing data such as aerial photography or satellite imagery at a
point in time. The boundary shown on a map between two vegetation communities is therefore a
compromise.

3.3 Classification Systems and NVIS

Vegetation classification systems aim to characterise and standardise vegetation descriptions to


allow comparison and meaningful groupings of plant species. Many different classification systems
exist although most rely on various combinations of floristic and structural attributes (i.e. cover,
height & growth form). Some classification systems also incorporate environmental variables such
as climate and edaphic factors.

Vegetation community composition and structure may vary in both time and space (Beadle &
Costin, 1952) making attempts to classify vegetation into classes or categories somewhat arbitrary.
Classification is a compromise between the preservation of naturally occurring vegetation
communities as fluctuating entities and the need to subdivide them into units for descriptive,
comparison or mapping purposes.

There is an intimate relationship between classification and mapping; classification strongly affects
a map and the purpose of generating a map determines the appropriate classification (Kuchler &
Zonneveld, 1988).

A diverse range of vegetation survey, classification and mapping systems are used across
Australia making it difficult to compare and join vegetation datasets across State and Territory
borders. As a result the need for a nationally consistent framework for vegetation survey and
mapping was recognised.

5
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

The NVIS was developed to address this problem. Through partnerships between States,
Territories and the Australian Government NVIS aims to develop:

Standards for the classification, attribution and storage of vegetation spatial data
(polygons);
Nationally consistent standards for the survey and mapping of vegetation including data
collection and classification (revised Yellow Book; Hnatiuk et al., in press & revised Blue
Book; Thackway et al., in press), and
A number of national vegetation information products.

NRETA is in the process of implementing the NVIS polygon attribute database. Once completed, it
will provide on-line vegetation information and be linked to currently available vegetation mapping.

Standards for the classification, attribution and storage of vegetation spatial data can be accessed
from the following link:

http://www.deh.gov.au/erin/nvis/avam/

National vegetation information products include:

Map of the major vegetation groups in Australia:


http://www.deh.gov.au/erin/nvis/publications/major-veg-map.html.

Major vegetation groups and their status for the NT by bioregion:


http://audit.ea.gov.au/ANRA/vegetation/docs/Native_vegetation/nat_veg_nt.cfm.

Land and Vegetation of NRETA adhere to the national standards developed by NVIS and
encourage other vegetation survey and mapping agencies to adopt them. The NVIS framework is
explained in more detail in Chapter 5.0.

6
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

4.0 MAPPING PROCEDURES


This chapter provides a summary of the information on procedures used for the mapping
component of vegetation surveys. It is a large topic and only some issues are discussed here. For
further detail on this subject refer to Chapter 6 and 7 in the Australian Soil and Land Survey
Handbook: Guidelines for Conducting Surveys Blue Book (Gunn et al., 1988). For an overview of
vegetation survey and mapping procedures refer to Appendix 2.

4.1 Map Scale

The amount of detail that can be shown on a map is mostly a function of scale: detail diminishes as
the scale decreases. The information on a small scale map is usually more generalised than on a
large scale map. As the scale controls the linework/mapping unit detail, it also has a strong bearing
on the level of attribute detail.

Broad floristic formations (i.e. NVIS Information Hierarchy Level III Broad Floristic Formation;
refer to Chapter 5.1) are readily shown at small scales, where as small vegetation communities
(i.e. NVIS Information Hierarchy Level VI Sub-association; refer to Chapter 5.1) require larger
scale mapping (i.e. more spatial detail). This is reflected in the degree of homogeneity in the
mapping unit. Often mapping will contain vegetation communities that are too small to define at the
prescribed scale, these areas are mapped as mosaics.

In other words, hierarchies of observation scale present problems as scale can be changed in a
continuous manner, although hierarchies of vegetation classification systems emphasise the
importance of distinguishing vegetation communities and describing them at a particular scale. For
this reason, vegetation maps at different scales cannot be readily compared. If the scale is
changed, both attributes (vegetation community description data) and line work may require
reinterpretation.

As well as determining the smallest area to be shown on a map, scale also influences the sampling
intensity required and the homogeneity of the resulting map units. Prior to generating the mapping,
size and scale of the final version of the map should be determined. Traditionally, the final scale of
a map is double the scale of the interpretive material (i.e. 1:25,000 scale aerial photography
produces a final map scale of 1:50,000). Often the availability, cost and resolution of the interpretive
material may influence the final map scale.

4.2 Interpretive Material

The interpretive material used depends on available data, funding and the purpose of a survey.

Two broad approaches are used to create vegetation maps (Neldner et al., 2003):

1. Visual interpretation of patterns on aerial photography or image analysis of spatial or


spectral attributes using satellite imagery, and

2. Modelling patterns of the vegetation for a region using numerical relationships


between site-based vegetation data and independent environmental variables to
predict the environmental domains of individual species.

7
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Historically the NT adopted the first approach by using aerial photography and more recently
satellite imagery for interpretation. Aerial photography involves stereoscopic interpretation of
patterns on contact prints and then transferred to a geo-referenced digital base such as
topographic maps. Aerial photography provides reasonable resolution, although is expensive.

More recently digital aerial photography with on screen digitising and attribution has been used in
conjunction with traditional stereoscopy methods. The process of scanning, geo-rectifying and
generating mosaics to produce the digital aerial photography is time consuming. Fortunately future
aerial photography will be flown digitally and geo-referenced to some degree. Software allowing 3D
vision is available for on screen digitising, however is expensive. As an alternative, contact prints
(stereo pairs) and a stereoscope are used to delineate unique mapping areas then digitised on
screen using a Geographic Information System (GIS). This is a tedious and time consuming
process.

If aerial photography is the interpretive base, the oldest available is recommended to provide
information on vegetation prior to clearing or modification. Pre-clearing and present vegetation can
be mapped and updated with recent satellite imagery or land clearing data. The use of old aerial
photography will depend on the purpose of a vegetation survey. The disadvantage of using old
photography may potentially limit field navigation and site location.

Innovative interpretive materials (i.e. high resolution satellite imagery) are becoming increasingly
available. Some possess comparable resolutions to aerial photography (eg. SPOT5, QuickBird,
IKONOS, ASTER, ALOS) and will potentially replace traditional aerial photography methods in the
future.

Higher powered computers combined with enhanced GIS specifications and the increasing
integration of GIS with remote sensing has made computer based mapping more efficient. These
methods still only provide a pattern and require considerable ground-truthing. Ancillary data such
as Digital Elevation Models (DEM) and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can assist
in mapping and field survey components; they can also be used for modelling.

4.3 Defining Map Units

The essential purpose of the mapping phase is to define unique mapping units, which are definable
on the interpretive materials (by texture, colour, tone, canopy spacing, spectral signature etc), are
a repeating unit /pattern across the mapped area, and which correlate to a greater or lesser degree
with something tangible in the real world (i.e. a homogeneous vegetation community or a
classification of that vegetation community). The boundaries marked should identify apparent
changes in the vegetation communities.

Each map unit/polygon is assigned a preliminary map unit code prior to field survey and re-
evaluated and attributed following field survey, analysis and classification of field data. Boundaries
should also be checked in the field for attribute and spatial accuracy.

Various protocols and specific formula exist for a minimum map unit size. Generally whatever
correlates to an area larger than two by two millimetres on interpretive material is acceptable (eg.
two by two millimetres on 1:50 000 aerial photography equates to 100 by 100 metres or one
hectare on the ground; Table 3).

8
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Table 3. Data resolution at various scales.

Description Size on Map 1:25 000 1:50 000 1:100 000 1:250 000 1:1 000 000

Surface area of the 2 x 2 mm 0.25 ha 1.0 ha 4 ha 25 ha 400 ha or


smallest mapped 4 km2
feature

Minimal area width for 1 mm 25 m 50 m 100 m 250 m 1 km


linear features 1mm
wide (on the ground)

Source: Neldner and Butler (in prep)

4.4 Mosaics

Mosaic map units incorporate more than one vegetation community within a map unit boundary.
Mosaics should be noted during the interpretation phase and were possible a percent proportion
subscribed to each component vegetation community within the one map unit boundary. If the
mosaic components are too small to map, or they are not feasible to map even as mosaics, they
should still be assessed in the field and described in the survey report.

For example, Queensland mapping is attributed with a code to provide a floristic association
(i.e. NVIS Information Hierarchy Level VI - Sub-association; refer to Chapter 5.1) and the
proportion it occupies in each map unit. Each polygon is therefore individually assessed as
opposed to identifying similar unique mapping areas and vegetation groupings as done in the NT.
Map polygons are labelled with the dominant vegetation community. Spatially smaller units within
the polygon boundary are referred to in the survey report.

The NVIS framework allows for mosaic mapping units (ESCAVI, 2003; refer to Chapter 5.0).

4.5 Accuracy Assessment

On completion of a survey, the final mapping units should be assessed for reliability and accuracy.
Maps should also be validated for spatial and attribute accuracy.

Spatial accuracy refers to the accuracy of a map in terms of real world coordinates (geo-
referencing) usually measured in metres. It is applied to the entire map and individual polygon
boundaries. Spatial accuracy can be assessed using global positioning system (GPS) ground
control points or by comparison with geo-referenced GIS coverages (eg. satellite imagery,
cadastral boundaries, digital topographic maps). Spatial accuracy can be corrected or improved
with a selected geo-referenced base using GIS.

Attribute accuracy is an estimate of how accurately vegetation communities have been depicted
within map units. The process requires ground-truthing; a simple method is to select one hundred
sites on a stratified random basis covering the survey area and individual vegetation communities.
The sites are visited and evaluated to determine the correspondence with the assigned vegetation
community. Accuracy can be measured as an overall percentage. Depending on scale, a map is
rarely 100% correct at any given site location.

For more detail refer to the Australian Soil and Land Survey Handbook: Guidelines for Conducting
Surveys Blue Book (Gunn et al., 1988).

9
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

5.0 NVIS CLASSIFICATION FRAMEWORK AND


NOMENCLATURE
Classification plays an important role in vegetation survey and mapping. The primary goal of a
classification system is to define patterns and simplify complex vegetation data.

Traditionally, NRETA Land and Vegetation have used a modified Carnahan/Specht (1981)
classification system for pure vegetation mapping where vegetation is characterised by the tallest
stratum. The tallest stratum is also considered to be the dominant stratum, provided canopy cover
values are greater than 5%. For land unit mapping in the NT the Walker and Hopkins (1990)
classification system also characterises vegetation by the tallest stratum. The two classification
systems rely on slightly different criteria and once applied to a map are not directly comparable.

Similarly at the national level, State and Territory agencies involved in vegetation survey and
mapping have used different classification systems. Recognising this, a national standard, the
NVIS framework, for classifying vegetation map units and descriptions was developed.

The principle objective of vegetation survey is to identify vegetation communities with similar
characteristics (i.e. floristic, structural formation & environmental attributes) by:

1. Describing vegetation communities at a recognised classification level (i.e. NVIS


Information Hierarchy Level V Association & Level VI - Sub-association; refer to
Chapter 5.1) for survey reports;

2. Attributing preliminary unique mapping areas at a recognised classification level


(generally Level V Association; refer to Chapter 5.1) to establish regional patterns of
vegetation community distribution, and

3. Providing an understanding of ecosystem relationships by identifying links between


individual species distribution and co-occurrence with a set of environmental factors
(i.e. physical, biological & disturbance attributes).

To achieve the above, field data is analysed and classified into floristic and structural groupings
using a recognised classification system.

5.1 NVIS Structural Classification

The NVIS framework is based on an information hierarchy of six levels (Table 4) and a structural
classification system. The purpose of the hierarchy is to define and standardise structural and
floristic map unit information, provide a framework for quality control and assurance of vegetation
description information and generate outputs at various levels (eg. map products).

The NVIS Information Hierarchy (ESCAVI, 2003) has been adopted by NRETA Land and
Vegetation to map and describe vegetation communities in the NT. A database has been built to
accommodate this (refer to Chapter 7.3). A large amount of historic NT vegetation data has been
translated into the NVIS classification system. Future vegetation mapping should adhere to the
NVIS classification system.

10
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Table 4. The NVIS Information Hierarchy.

Level Description Species Growth form Cover Height


I CLASS* - 1 dominant - -
growth form for
the dominant
stratum
Example Tree
II STRUCTURAL - 1 dominant 1 cover class for 1 height
FORMATION* growth form for the dominant class for the
the dominant stratum dominant
stratum stratum
Example Open woodland
III BROAD 1 dominant genus 1 dominant 1 cover class for 1 height
FLORISTIC name for the dominant growth form for dominant stratum class for
FORMATION** stratum dominant stratum dominant
stratum
Example Eucalyptus open woodland
IV SUB- 1 dominant genus 1 dominant 1 cover class for 1 height
FORMATION** name for each stratum growth form for each stratum (max class for
(max 3 strata; i.e. for each stratum 3 strata) each
U, M, G where (max 3 strata) stratum
substantially present) (max 3
strata)
Example +Eucalyptus open woodland\Petalostigma tall sparse shrubland\Sorghum
tussock grassland
V ASSOCIATION** Up to 3 dominant Up to 3 dominant 1 cover class code 1 height
species for each growth forms for for each stratum class code
stratum (max 3 strata; each stratum (max 3 strata; i.e. for each
i.e. for U, M, G where (max 3 strata; i.e. for U, M, G where stratum
present) for U, M, G where present) (max 3
present) strata; i.e.
for U, M, G
where
present)
Example U+ ^Eucalyptus miniata, Eucalyptus tetrodonta, Erythrophleum chlorostachys
\^tree\7\r;M ^Petalostigma pubescens, Buchanania obovata, Planchonia
careya\^shrub\4\r;G ^Sorghum plumosum, Heteropogon triticeus, Chrysopogon
latifolius\^tussock grass\2\c
VI SUB- Up to 5 dominant Up to 5 dominant 1 cover class code 1 height
ASSOCIATION** species for each sub- growth forms for for each sub- class code
stratum (i.e. for U1, each sub-stratum. stratum for each
U2, U3, M1, M2, M3, Indicate sub-stratum
G1, G2 where characteristic
present) growth form with
Indicate characteristic an up arrow or
genus in each sub- hat ^. Must
stratum with an up match
arrow or hat ^. Must characteristic
match characteristic genus.
growth form.
Example U+ ^Eucalyptus miniata, Eucalyptus tetrodonta, Erythrophleum chlorostachys,
Corymbia foelscheana, Corymbia polysciada \^tree\7\r;M ^Petalostigma
pubescens, Buchanania obovata, Planchonia careya, Livistona humilis,
Terminalia grandiflora\^shrub,palm,tree\4\r;G ^Sorghum plumosum,
Heteropogon triticeus, Chrysopogon latifolius, Distichostemon hispidulus,
Erythrophleum chlorostachys\^tussock grass,forb,tree\2\c
* Walker and Hopkins (1990)
** NVIS (defined for the NVIS Information Hierarchy)
+ indicates dominant stratum

11
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

The NVIS structural classification is built from three components including height (linked to growth
forms; Table 5), cover classes (Table 6) and growth forms (Table 7). NVIS classification crown
cover categories r and bi have been modified in the NT (Table 8). Open woodlands need to have
a cover of 5% or greater therefore category r is 5-20% rather than 0.25-20% and category bi
0-5%.

Table 5. NVIS height class codes and descriptions.

Height Code Description


8 Height range >30 m - Trees, Vines (in M & U), Palms (single-stemmed), Epiphytes.
7 Height range 10-30 m - Trees, Vines (in M & U), Palms (single-stemmed), Mallee, Mallee
Shrub, Epiphytes.
6 Height range <10 m - Tress, Vines (in M & U), Palms (single-stemmed), Epiphytes;
Height range 3-10m - Mallee, Mallee Shrub, Epiphytes.
5 Height range < 3 m - Mallee, Mallee Shrub, Epiphytes.
4 Height range > 2 m - Cycads, Grass-trees, Tree-ferns, Shrubs, Heath Shrub,
Chenopod Shrub, Ferns, Samphire, Palms (multi-stemmed), Tussock and Hummock Grasses,
Sedges, Rushes, Forbs, Epiphytes (in G), Vines (in G).
3 Height range 1-2 m - Cycads, Grass-trees, Tree-ferns, Shrubs, Heath Shrub,
Chenopod Shrub, Ferns, Samphire, Palms (multi-stemmed), Tussock and Hummock Grasses,
Sedges, Rushes, Forbs, Epiphytes (in G), Vines (in G).
2 Height range 0.5-1 m - Cycads, Grass-trees, Tree-ferns, Shrubs, Heath Shrub,
Chenopod Shrub, Ferns, Samphire, Palms (multi-stemmed), Tussock and Hummock Grasses,
Sedges, Rushes, Forbs, Liverwort, Lichen, Moss, Seagrasses.
1 Height range < 0.5 m - Cycads, Xanthorrhoea, Shrubs, Heath Shrub,
Chenopod Shrub, Ferns, Samphire, Tussock and Hummock Grasses,
Sedges, Rushes, Forbs, Lichen, Bryophyte, Seagrasses, Epiphytes (in G), Vines (in G).
Unknown Unknown
Source: ESCAVI (2003)

Table 6. NVIS cover class codes and descriptions.

Cover Code Description


d Foliage cover 70-100% - Crown cover 80-100% - Ground cover 70-100%
c Foliage cover 30-70% - Crown cover 50-80% - Ground cover 30-70%
i Foliage cover 10-30% - Crown cover 20-50% - Ground cover 10-30%
r Foliage cover < 10% - Crown cover 0.25-20% - Ground cover <10%
bi Foliage cover ~0% (scattered) - Crown cover 0-0.25% - Ground cover ~0%
bc Foliage cover ~0% (clumped) - Crown cover 0-0.25% - Ground cover ~0%
Source: ESCAVI (2003)

Table 7. NVIS growth form codes and descriptions.

Growth Form Code Description


Woody plants, more than 2m tall with a single stem or branches well above
T Tree
the base.
Woody perennial plant usually of the genus Eucalyptus. Multi-stemmed with
M Tree Mallee fewer than 5 trunks of which at least 3 exceed 100mm at breast height
(1.3m). Usually 8m or more.
12
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Woody plants multi-stemmed at the base (or within 200mm from ground
S Shrub level) or if single stemmed, less than 2m.
Commonly less than 8m tall, usually with 5 or more trunks, of which at least 3
Y Mallee Shrub of the largest do not exceed 100mm at breast height (1.3m).
Shrub usually less than 2m, with sclerophyllous leaves having high fibre:
protein ratios and with an area of nanophyll or smaller (less than 225 sq. m.).
Z Heath Shrub Often a member of the following families: EPACRIDACEAE, MYRTACEAE,
FABACEAE and PROTEACEAE. Commonly occur in nutrient-poor
substrates.
Single or multi-stemmed, semi-succulent shrub of the family
C Chenopod Shrub CHENOPODIACEAE exhibiting drought and salt tolerance.
Genera (of Tribe SALICORNIOIDEAE, viz: Halosarcia, Pachycornia,
Sarcocornia, Sclerostegia, Tecticornia and Tegicornia) with articulate
U Samphire Shrub branches, fleshy stems and reduced flowers within the CHENOPODIACEAE
family, succulent chenopods. Also genus Sueda.
Forms discrete but open tussocks usually with distinct individual shoots, or if
G Tussock Grass not, then forming a hummock. These are common agricultural grasses.
Coarse xeromorphic grass with a mound-like form often dead in the middle;
H Hummock Grass genera are Triodia and Plectrachne.
Member of the family POACEAE, but having neither a distinctive tussock nor
W Other grass hummock appearance.
Herbaceous, usually perennial erect plant generally with a tufted habit and of
V Sedge the families CYPERACEAE (true sedges) or RESTIONACEAE (node
sedges).
Herbaceous, usually perennial erect monocot that is neither a grass nor
sedge. For the purposes of NVIS, rushes include the monocotyledon families
R Rush
JUNCACEAE, TYPHACEAE, LILIACEAE, IRIDACEAE, XYRIDACEAE and
the genus Lomandra (i.e. graminoid or grass-like genera).
Herbaceous or slightly woody, annual or sometimes perennial plant (usually a
F Forb
dicotyledon).
Characterised by large and usually branched leaves (fronds), arborescent
D Tree-fern and terrestrial; spores in sporangia on the leaves.
Ferns and fern allies. Characterised by large and usually branched leaves
E Fern (fronds), herbaceous and terrestrial to aquatic; spores in sporangia on the
leaves.
Mosses and Liverworts. Mosses are small plants usually with slender leaf-
B Bryophyte bearing stem with no true vascular tissue. Liverworts are often moss-like in
appearance or consisting of a flat, ribbon-like green thallus.
Composite plant consisting of fungus living symbiotically with algae; without
N Lichen true roots, stems or leaves.
Epiphytes, mistletoes and parasites. Plant with roots attached to the aerial
K Epiphyte portions of other plants. Often could also be another growth form, such as
fern or forb.
L Vine Climbing, twining, winding or sprawling plants usually with a woody stem.
Palms and other arborescent monocotyledons. Members of the
P Palm ARECACEAE or the genus Pandanus (Pandanus is often multi-stemmed).
X Grass-tree Australian grass trees. Members of the family XANTHORROEACEAE.

A Cycad Members of the families CYCADACEAE and ZAMIACEAE.


Flowering angiosperms forming sparse to dense mats of material at the sub-
J Seagrass tidal and down to 30m below MSL. Occasionally exposed.
Plant growing in an inland waterway or wetland with the majority of its
Q Aquatic biomass under water for most of the year. Fresh, saline or brackish water.
O Lower Plant Alga, fungus.
Source: ESCAVI (2003)

The three components are combined to generate structural formation classes (Table 8).
13
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Table 8. NVIS Classification System structural formation classes.

Cover Characteristics
Foliage cover * 70-100 30-70 10-30 <10 0 0-5 unknown
Crown cover ** >80 50-80 20-50 0.25-20 <0.25 0-5 unknown
% Cover *** >80 50-80 20-50 0.25-20 <0.25 0-5 unknown
Cover code d c i r bi bc unknown
Growth Form Height Ranges Structural Formation Classes
(m)
tree, palm <10,10-30, >30 closed forest open forest woodland open woodland isolated trees isolated clumps of trees trees
tree mallee <3, <10, 10-30 closed mallee forest open mallee forest mallee woodland open mallee woodland isolated mallee trees isolated clumps of mallee trees mallee trees
shrub, cycad,grass-tree, <1,1-2,>2 closed shrubland shrubland open shrubland sparse shrubland isolated shrubs isolated clumps of shrubs shrubs
tree-fern
mallee shrub <3, <10, 10-30 closed mallee shrubland mallee shrubland open mallee shrubland sparse mallee shrubland isolated mallee shrubs isolated clumps of mallee mallee shrubs
shrubs
heath shrub <1,1-2,>2 closed heathland heathland open heathland sparse heathland isolated heath shrubs isolated clumps of heath heath shrubs
shrubs
chenopod shrub <1,1-2,>2 closed chenopod chenopod open chenopod sparse chenopod isolated chenopod isolated clumps of chenopod chenopod
shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubs shrubs shrubs
samphire shrub <0.5,>0.5 closed samphire samphire open samphire sparse samphire isolated samphire isolated clumps of samphire samphire shrubs
shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubs shrubs
hummock grass <2,>2 closed hummock hummock open hummock sparse hummock isolated hummock isolated clumps of hummock hummock
grassland grassland grassland grassland grasses grasses grasses
tussock grass <0.5,>0.5 closed tussock tussock grassland open tussock sparse tussock isolated tussock isolated clumps of tussock tussock grasses
grassland grassland grassland grasses grasses
other grass <0.5,>0.5 closed grassland grassland open grassland sparse grassland isolated grasses isolated clumps of grasses other grasses
sedge <0.5,>0.5 closed sedgeland sedgeland open sedgeland sparse sedgeland isolated sedges isolated clumps of sedges sedges
rush <0.5,>0.5 closed rushland rushland open rushland sparse rushland isolated rushes isolated clumps of rushes rushes
forb <0.5,>0.5 closed forbland forbland open forbland sparse forbland isolated forbs isolated clumps of forbs forbs
fern <1,1-2,>2 closed fernland fernland open fernland sparse fernland isolated ferns isolated clumps of ferns ferns
bryophyte <0.5 closed bryophyteland bryophyteland open bryophyteland sparse bryophyteland isolated bryophytes isolated clumps of bryophytes bryophytes
lichen <0.5 closed lichenland lichenland open lichenland sparse lichenland isolated lichens isolated clumps of lichens lichens
vine <10,10-30, >30 closed vineland vineland open vineland sparse vineland isolated vines isolated clumps of vines vines
aquatic 0-0.5,<1 closed aquatic bed aquatic bed open aquatic bed sparse aquatics isolated aquatics isolated clumps of aquatics aquatics
seagrass 0-0.5,<1 closed seagrass bed seagrassbed open seagrassbed sparse seagrassbed isolated seagrasses isolated clumps of seagrasses seagrasses
Source: ESCAVI (2003)

Note: This table is based on native vegetation, but can be used in a similar fashion for non-native vegetation and for describing re-vegetation.

* FOLAIGE COVER proportion of ground cover which would be shaded if sunshine came directly overhead including branches and leaves.
** CROWN COVER (canopy cover) percentage of the sample site within the vertical projection of the periphery of the crowns where crowns are treated as opaque.
*** PERCENTAGE COVER - percentage of a strictly defined area covered by vegetation. Can be either an estimate or precise measure using a crown densiometer or point intercept transects.

14
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

The structural formation classes in conjunction with a height qualifier (Table 9) and species
information are used to generate Levels I to VI of the NVIS Information Hierarchy (Table 4).
A program SAVEG version 1.1 has been built to allow entry of the three components and species
information to build the six level NVIS hierarchy automatically. For manual building of the hierarchy
and full details of NVIS and core attributes see the NVIS Australian Vegetation Attribute Manual
Version 6.0 (ESCAVI, 2003).

Comparisons of common classifications systems and criteria (Walker & Hopkins, 1990; Specht,
1970; NVIS) are provided in two categories: cover and structural formation (Appendix 3) and height
classes (Appendix 4). Appendix 5 is a useful table to translate codes and descriptions from the
Walker and Hopkins (1990) classification system to NVIS.

Table 9. NVIS height classes and corresponding growth forms.

Height Applicable Growth Forms


tree, vine (M shrub, heath tree mallee, tussock byrophyte,
& U), palm shrub, mallee shrub grass, lichen,
(single chenopod hummock seagrass,
stemmed). shrub, ferns, grass, other aquatic
Height Height samphire grass,
Class Range (m) shrub, cycad, sedge, rush,
tree-fern, forbs, vine
grass-tree, (G)
palm (multi-
stemmed)
8 >30 Tall NA NA NA NA
7 10-30 Mid NA Tall NA NA
6 <10 Low NA Mid NA NA
5 <3 NA NA Low NA NA
4 >2 NA Tall NA Tall NA
3 1-2 NA Mid NA Tall NA
2 0.5-1 NA Low NA Mid Tall
1 <0.5 NA Low NA Low Low
Source: ESCAVI (2003) based on Walker & Hopkins (1990)
Note: the word in the body of the table is used to qualify the structural formation

15
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

6.0 DATA ANALYSIS AND MAP ATTRIBUTION


Data analysis and map attribution can be complex processes. This is a large topic and only a brief
outline of how NRETA Land and Vegetation does this is provided. Four main steps are involved in
data analysis and map attribution:

1. Floristic Analysis: Determine floristic affinities between sites to produce floristic


groupings.
2. Structural Classification: Assign structural attributes to floristic groups and place
them into a classification system.
3. Polygon Attribution: Relate structural and floristic groups to the mapping.
4. Reporting: Document vegetation community descriptions, floristic lists with frequency
of occurrence, structural summary and environmental attributes in a survey report.

6.1 Floristic Analysis

Various numerical techniques have been devised to sort floristic data in an attempt to define
homogenous plant assemblages. The approach used and outputs resulting from analysis is
primarily influenced by the level of site data detail, the accuracy required for the scale of mapping
and the time of year data is collected. The process is iterative where a number of analyses are
performed on the same dataset or sub sets of data. Of the many analytical techniques available,
those commonly used for vegetation data are relatively simple, employing some type of association
technique, and generally biased towards floristics.

Association analysis is a statistical technique for generating floristic groupings based on


presence/absence and/or abundance of species derived from site data. Sites are partitioned into
two groups on the basis of their possession of species (i.e. species showing the highest overall
association with other species). The analysis proceeds by treating each subset of sites as an initial
set and further sub-dividing until resultant subsets represent a series of sites with reasonably
uniform species composition (Specht & Specht, 2002). During the primary analysis, sites are
grouped purely on species association and abundances. Further exploration of the data may
include environmental attributes.

Preferably the person who collects the data should also analyse it given floristic analysis often
requires expert input to produce final site groupings.

Five steps are used to determine floristic site groupings:


1. Presence/absence on a subset of data based on frequency of occurrence for the upper
stratum (eg. species occurring in more than 5% of sites);
2. Quantitative measure using basal area for the upper stratum;
3. Repeat step one for the ground stratum and compare with output groupings for the
upper stratum;
4. Repeat steps one and two for the mid stratum and compare with output groupings for
upper and ground strata/sub strata, and
5. Undertake a number of analyses for a series of subset data to decide the total number
of groupings (vegetation communities). Note: the larger the dataset, the more analysis
required.

16
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Vegetation site data can be analysed using statistical packages including PATN,
PRIMER, SYSTAT. PATN is the most powerful and has recently been released in a windows
format, suitable for large datasets. For smaller datasets SYSTAT and PRIMER are adequate for
association analysis. For further information refer to Belbin (1988); Specht and Specht (2002);
Clarke and Gorley (2001) and Hill (1979).

6.2 Structural Classification

The structure of vegetation at each site is evaluated on the basis of floristic groupings derived from
the association analysis. A final group is assigned to each site incorporating both structural and
floristic information. The structural information is determined by height and cover values coupled
with growth form then translated to the NVIS classification system structural formation and height
classes (Table 8 & 9). For each grouping of sites, floristic information and structural formation and
height classes define the vegetation community description.

Site groupings may also be appraised based on environmental attributes such as soil and
landform. Assigning the final site groupings is often iterative.

6.3 Polygon/Map Attribution

Preliminary map units are then evaluated according to the final vegetation community groupings.
Mapping units may need to be split or amalgamated, or boundaries altered to reflect the final
vegetation group. In some instances, vegetation communities determined from the association
analysis may not relate to a mapping area boundary or may be too small to map (dependant on
scale). These spatially small vegetation communities need to be described in the survey report and
attributed on the final map as a mosaic.

6.4 Reporting

Once final vegetation communities are determined, floristic and structural information is
downloaded from the site database to describe each vegetation community. Information
summarised from the site data include modal growth-form, mean cover, mean height and cover
and height ranges for up to three dominant strata. This information places vegetation communities
into a classification system and forms the vegetation community description for survey reports and
polygon attribution. The information should be described at the association (NVIS Level V) or sub-
association level (NVIS Level VI) provided adequate sites and data have been sampled.

Vegetation communities are described textually and tabularly in a survey report including the
following information. For vegetation survey report format examples refer to Appendix 6.

Structural classification code and description for the dominant stratum;


Dominant species and frequency of occurrence for each stratum/ sub stratum;
Number of sites representing community and list of corresponding sites;
Common species list with frequency of occurrence for each stratum/ sub stratum;
Average and mean heights and height ranges for each stratum/sub stratum;
Average and mean cover and cover ranges for each stratum/sub stratum;
Dominant growth form for each stratum/sub stratum;
Structural classification code for each stratum/sub stratum, and
Environmental information (i.e. landform, soils, drainage).

17
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

7.0 DATA STORAGE

7.1 Meta Data

Metadata provides a structured description and summary of a dataset. All vegetation survey and
mapping projects on completion should be placed on the NT Spatial Data Directory and completed
to ANZLIC standards (ANZLIC, 2001). The majority of NT survey reports contain metadata defining
content, currency, access, availability and quality of the data.

The NVIS data base also contains basic metadata information (ESCAVI, 2003).

7.2 Site Data

Numerous vegetation site databases exist in the NT. The data is stored in various formats and at
different locations.

Vegetation data across NRETA is currently stored in a number of databases including Database
for Ecological Community Data (DECODA), Resource Assessment Vegetation System (RAVS),
Microsoft Excel and Access and various ARC/INFO-ARCMAP data formats. A significant amount
of vegetation data is not currently digital equating to 34% of all known NT vegetation datasets
(Figure 1).

A vegetation site data inventory was undertaken to establish the extent and quality of NT data by
Brocklehurst (2003). Approximately 30,000 sites from 240 surveys were assessed. A simple
Access database was designed to store metadata information containing a number of look up
fields (Appendix 7). Future NT vegetation site data should be entered into this database as a
standard survey procedure in the NT. A web accessible front end is to be developed.

Digital Data Storage Systems

7% 2%
3%0%
25%
19%

15%
27%
2%

DECODA/ARCINFO DECODA nil


RAVS Foxpro-Access Access
Excel Oracle Unknown

Figure 1. Comparison of NT vegetation data stored in numerous databases.

18
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Resource Assessment Vegetation Information System (RAVS)

Land and Vegetation of NRETA recognised the inconsistency of vegetation site data management
and initiated the development of a corporate vegetation site database.

RAVS is an oracle database that has spatial links to map units based on individual survey and site
information. RAVS is presently a dichotomy controlled database in a multi document interface
window environment allowing users to access contents of multiple tables simultaneously.
RAVS stores core and optional attributes pertaining to:
Survey (site ID, survey ID/type, quadrat size, NVIS code/description);
Geo-referencing (zone, coordinates, datum, aspect, aerial photograph, topographic
map sheet/scale);
Physical environment (soil, geology, drainage);
Disturbance (grazing, fire);
Landform (element, pattern);
Ground cover (bare soil, vegetation litter, rock, gravel, crust, vegetation);
Broad vegetation structure (stratum summary, growth form, crown separation), and
Floristics and structural formation (plant species, cover, height, basal area).

Vegetation site data core attributes have been defined in Lewis et al., (in prep).

Species are stored against a taxonomic code where the taxonomy is irregularly updated. Updating
taxonomic lists requires reloading the current dataset and making editions to accommodate
taxonomic revisions. The NT Herbarium maintains a taxonomic plant name database and regularly
updates it. This database will be incorporated into RAVS to overcome the issue of intermittently
reloading and editing datasets.

RAVS will require modification to incorporate other attributes and the NVIS polygon database
through:

Incorporating NVIS and other attributes into RAVS;


Developing input/output routines from RAVS to analytical packages such as the windows
based PATN, and
Developing input/output routines from RAVS to the NVIS database.

7.3 Polygon/Map Data

NVIS polygon database

The NVIS polygon database was primarily developed to provide a standard method of polygon
attribution within a standard classification framework. The database contains a large number of
attributes covering vegetation, survey procedure, environmental parameters, meta-data,
references and provides a hierarchy of detail, from summary information to well detailed floristic
information.

The NVIS database is currently being developed within NRETA to become the main storage and
attribution tool for vegetation polygon mapping datasets. It resides on an oracle platform and will
be linked to digital mapping, providing more on-line vegetation detail than presently available. A
large number of NT vegetation surveys have already been translated into the NVIS classification
system and reside in the database.

19
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

The NVIS Version 3.0 vegetation data set, resident on NRETA servers, represents the most up to
date standardised broad scale mapping of the whole NT. Two polygon coverages exist; vegetation
pre-clearing and vegetation extant. The dataset is essentially the NT Vegetation Map (1:1,000,000)
with monsoon vine-forests, melaleuca forests, lancewood forests, mangrove forests and clearing
imbedded. Attribution is as per the NVIS Information Hierarchy (Table 4).

A recently developed program (SAVEG Version 1.1) has been designed to allow entry of structural
and species information to build the six level NVIS Information Hierarchy automatically. Various
xml and Microsoft Access input and output routines have been developed to process other core
attributes. For manual building of the hierarchy and for full detail of the NVIS framework and core
attributes see the NVIS Australian Vegetation Attribute Manual Version 6.0 (ESCAVI, 2003).
http://www.deh.gov.au/erin/nvis/publications/avam/index.html

NRETA Polygon Data

For individual vegetation surveys, GIS data is currently stored in the NRETA Spatial Data Directory
and will be made available on the website through NRETA Maps.
http://nretaintranet.nt.gov.au/onlinesystems/nretamaps.html

7.4 Database Integration

The RAVS site database and NVIS polygon data base are currently being integrated. The model is
referred to as the Natural Resources Vegetation Information System (NRVIS) and is designed to
provide the following efficiencies:

Proficient entry of site data;


Data manipulation and output to various analysis packages (i.e. PATN, TWINSPAN,
PRIMER);
Input from analysis packages;
Calculation of floristic and structural statistics based on groupings of site data;
Automated output of summary data into survey report formats, and
Automated output of data into the NVIS polygon database.

The aim of NRVIS is to automate future inclusions of NVIS spatial and attribute data in an
Australian-wide vegetation dataset. Site data will be derived from RAVS then analysed to develop
linkages with NVIS attributes to provide polygon attribution back into RAVS with updated plant
names from the yet to be developed Bio-link database (Figure 2).

20
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

DATA ENTRY

Manual, Batch/Script
B
I
MANAGMENT SYSTEM O
L
ORACLE I
RAVS INTERFACES NT DVT
N
Other Databases K

T
A
X
O
NVIS
N
O
M
I
C

SPATIAL INFORMATION D
SYSTEM XML Export B
ORACLE A
GIS S
E

Reports Document Worksheet


Internet

Figure 2. Proposed NRVIS data model.


Source: Lewis (2006)

There are three main stages to the NRVIS development:

1. Develop an information database incorporating simple menu interfaces for the following
capabilities: navigation, data entry, editing, importing and exporting. This has been
developed May 2005;
2. Provide spatial linkages to other databases such as BIOLINK (NT Herbarium
taxonomic specimen database), RAVS and NT definitive vegetation types (refer to
Chapter 9.3), and
3. Create a visualisation interface tool between the three stages for NRETA view only
including a web based version.

NRETA is committed to establishing the NVIS attribute framework and the NRVIS database as part
of the corporate vegetation management system. NRVIS will be used to store polygon data on a
project survey basis and in a format suitable for transferring to relevant agencies (i.e.
Commonwealth). Application and database components will be maintained on the corporate
server. At a later stage it is envisaged a developed, distributed system can be accessed by the
Commonwealth on NRETA servers. Similarly, a database containing information on a systematic
taxonomy of vegetation types (i.e. definitive vegetation types; refer to Chapter 9.3) has been
developed and will need to be linked to the NRVIS in the future.

21
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

8.0 PRODUCTS
A number of products can be developed and made available from the vegetation data and
environmental attributes collected.

Common products produced from a vegetation survey may include:


Vegetation community maps at given scales;
Supplementary survey report, and
Interactive CDs (maps, survey report & site photos).

Interpretive products are more recently being generated and may include the following (dependant
on data collected):

Threatened flora;
Introduced plants;
Pasture potential;
Sensitive ecosystems;
Landform, and
Soil drainage.

For primary vegetation mapping datasets in the NT go to:


http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/naturalresources/nativevegetation/vegmapping/datasets.html

For more information on data products in the NT go to NRETA Maps:


http://nretaintranet.nt.gov.au/onlinesystems/nretamaps.html?submit.x=40&submit.y=11

For NVIS products generated for use at a national scale go to:


http://www.deh.gov.au/erin/nvis/mvg/index.html

For the Australian Native Vegetation Assessment 2001 major vegetation groups and their status in
the NT go to. http://audit.ea.gov.au/ANRA/vegetation/docs/Native_vegetation/nat_veg_nt.cfm

22
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

9.0 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

9.1 Vegetation Condition


The NT covers a range of environments and climatic regimes from arid to tropical. Ecosystem
function varies across this region. In comparison to other States and Territories, the NT still has
large areas of native vegetation. This vegetation although not pristine, could be regarded as
relatively 'intact' with fire and grazing (feral & domestic) perceived as the greatest modifiers. The
degree of vegetation intactness, or lack of, across the whole NT has not yet been assessed.

There is a growing demand for information on vegetation condition, for various purposes at local,
regional and national levels. In collaboration with the Department of Environment and Heritage
(DEH - Australian Government), a pilot study is being undertaken to develop a set of on-ground
indicators to reflect the condition of NT vegetation types, specifically in terms of bio-diversity.
Indicators will reflect the degree of difference from a 'benchmark type' of vegetation. The
benchmark type represents its most natural or least disturbed state. Vegetation condition
indicators have been developed, or are in the process of development by all States and Territories.

There are three components to developing an assessment for vegetation condition:

1. Develop on-ground vegetation condition indicators, methods for field assessment and
describe condition classes or states;

2. Define the benchmark vegetation types and criteria that the indicators are measured
against, and

3. Spatially extrapolate vegetation condition classes across the landscape for each
benchmark vegetation type.

Vegetation Condition Indicators

A preliminary list of indicators and their score weightings have been developed for the woodland
and forest vegetation types in the NT (Appendix 8). Indicators for the non-woody grasslands are to
be developed. Riparian condition indicators and methods for assessment have been developed;
Tropical Rapid Appraisal of Riparian Condition (TRARC) (Dixon et al., 2006).

The indicators are based on quantitative analysis of vegetation structural components, growth
forms and perceived disturbance at a site and scored to a maximum of 100. On the basis of the
score, the vegetation will be placed within five condition classes (low to high).

23
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

The indicators developed for the NT are relatively simple in comparison to those developed by
other States and Territories. They are selected based on what would best reflect, or highlight the
possible processes leading to modification of a particular vegetation type, with the least number of
measurements needed in the field (ie have been subjectively selected to target modifying
processes).

A preliminary field assessment method has been developed consisting of one to a number of 100
metre transects. Growth forms and canopy cover are measured at intervals along each transect.
Regeneration counts are made in 100x50 metre quadrat placed adjacent to transect. Two basal
area sweeps are used measure tree density and health. The method is based on a modified
SLATS (State-wide Land-cover and Trees Study) approach (Kuhnell et al., 1998).

For more information follow the links.


Land and Water Australia TRARC Technical Guideline 2006 and score sheets.
http://savanna.ntu.edu.au/publications/lwa_trarc_guide.html

TRARC User Manual will be hosted at:


http://savanna.cdu.edu.au/

Benchmark Vegetation Types

Vegetation condition indicator values measured in the field are compared to the values expected
for each benchmark vegetation type and scored accordingly. The values for each indicator and
vegetation type need to be identified before comparisons can be made. A number of approaches
have been tried using existing site data for a number of vegetation types. The definitive vegetation
types (refer to Chapter 9.3) were also considered as the basis for benchmark types. Both
approaches proved too complex, would create too many benchmark types and be extremely time
consuming to develop benchmark criteria for all vegetation types in the NT.

Alternatively, synthetic vegetation types for each major structural vegetation type existing in the
NT will be produced. The synthetic vegetation types are a series of condition states that the
vegetation may reflect, either temporally or due to recent anthropogenic change. The premise is
that these condition states are reflected in the structural components of the vegetation and
represent the best condition state of a vegetation type through to the poorest. One of these
condition states can be used to determine the benchmark criteria (see Appendix 9 for an
example).

The synthetic approach is biased towards the structural attributes of vegetation rather than
species occurrence. It is perceived due to the relative intactness of NT vegetation, the majority of
dominant species of the defining strata should still be present.

Spatial Extrapolation of Condition Classes

Spatially extrapolating the condition of vegetation measured at a site across the whole range of a
vegetation type is problematic. Given most of the NT lacks in fine scale mapping, it is difficult to
extrapolate from site based assessment across the whole range of a particular vegetation type as
done with other methods such as Habitat Hectares (Parkes et al., 2003).
For various approaches to this refer to Ecological Management and Restoration: Linking Science
and Practice Mapping Vegetation Condition Volume 7 Supplement 1 (June, 2006).

An interim method at the landscape level has been developed. It is a top down approach using
various spatial data sets that can be used as surrogates for condition (eg. fire frequencies). Each
dataset is scored against criteria as indicated in Figure 3. The criteria for all datasets can be
combined to provide an overall condition score. Alternatively, datasets can be pre-classified into
categories based on VAST (Vegetation Assets, States & Transitions) approach (Thackway &
Lesslie, 2005 & 2006).

24
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

Satellite platforms are also suitable for assessments across large areas and for monitoring over
time, although are limited in the characteristics of vegetation they can detect. These platforms can
be used to detect broad changes in cover (i.e. NDVI) to reflect changes on the ground. Both
approaches are suitable for highlighting regions where modification of vegetation is taking place
and can be researched in more detail.

Condition of habitat / ecosystem / vegetation type

G G G

FIRE WEEDS

M B M
G G
S
B B

M
Condition:
G = Good
M = Moderate
B = Bad FERALS G
S = Severe

Figure 3. Cumulative scoring method.

NOTE: The vegetation condition initiative in the NT is in the early stages and will continue to be
developed. Indicators, benchmarks and processes contained herein are subject to change.

9.2 Non Native Vegetation Types

National definitions for non native vegetation and land cover types are presently being developed
by the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS), Australian Government. Once finalised, categories should
be used to attribute areas currently blank, or poorly attributed on NT vegetation datasets.
Categories for clearing land attribution will include urban areas, horticultural and agricultural land.

9.3 Definitive Vegetation Types

The Vegetation Survey of the NT (Wilson et al., 1990) described a standard list of 112 vegetation
communities for the whole NT. Since then there have been numerous vegetation and floristic
surveys. These surveys have described new vegetation communities as well as redescribing
existing vegetation communities. Though the quality and level of descriptions vary, there are many
descriptions of the same vegetation communities. The need to develop a framework for a
consistent list of vegetation community descriptions was recognised.

The definitive vegetation type (DVT) concept was developed to provide both a local and nationally
recognised systematic taxonomy of vegetation types in the NT. A DVT can be described as a
representative or typical example of a vegetation community at the association level (NVIS Level
VI) compiled from existing vegetation data.

25
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

A preliminary list of 367 DVT was generated from published and unpublished vegetation survey
reports (Brocklehurst & Gibbons, 2003). A number of other States already have listings of DVT at
either the association (NVIS Level V) or sub-association (NVIS Level VI).

Advantages of the DVT concept will:

Provide a systematic taxonomy of NT vegetation communities and associated


environmental attributes, distribution and conservation status;
Assist in vegetation mapping once criteria is developed for the recognition of vegetation
communities in the field (i.e. full site characterisation wont be required);
Assist in defining national vegetation types and provide equivalence across borders;
Potentially assist in developing benchmarks for vegetation condition monitoring (i.e. change
in species composition, structural parameters, threatening processes etc.);
Update the 112 vegetation community descriptions for the Vegetation Survey of the NT by
Wilson et al. (1990), and
Link to the NRVIS polygon database to provide more detail and allow a seamless
integration of NT vegetation surveys and national datasets.

A database for storage of NT DVT has been developed and is based primarily on the New South
Wales Royal Botanic Gardens and Queensland Herbarium model. A technical report is being
produced to explain the database and entry methods.

The process of compiling the DVT from source data highlighted the need for adopting a standard
technique for analysis and written descriptions of vegetation communities in the NT. Many of the
written descriptions in survey reports are data deficient and do not reflect the detail collected in
field data. Many of the descriptions could be NVIS compliant provided reports included all the detail
available.

DVT will continually be enhanced as the knowledge base expands. For attributes contained in the
DVT database refer to Appendix 10.

9.4 Ecosystem Regionalisation

Regional ecosystems were defined by Sattler and Williams (1999) as vegetation communities in a
bioregion that are consistently associated with a particular combination of geology, landform and
soil.

An interim regionalisation has been produced for the NT based on the Queensland approach by
integrating soils, landform and geology with the NVIS Version 3.0 vegetation dataset. However a
new data set, the Integrated Land Systems of the NT, will prove useful as a base for future
attempts at ecosystem regionalisation.

Applications of regional ecosystems are generally for management purposes rather than
vegetation mapping per se. For example, the same vegetation community could be split into a
number of regional ecosystems based on other landscape features (i.e. soil & landform).
Ecosystem regionalisation in the NT will place individual vegetation surveys into a broader context
of environmental and landscape parameters.

Compared with the Queensland regional ecosystem definitions (Neldner et al., 1999) there is
presently no ecosystem regionalisation for the NT.
For regional ecosystems of Queensland go to:
http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/biodiversity/regional_ecosystems/

26
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION A: GUIDELINES

9.5 Web Server Data Input Forms

A future development is the construction of input forms using Oracle Application Express
to allow external entry into various vegetation databases via the web and direct entry into
Oracle tables. This would potentially overcome current systems of using proprietary
software such as Info Mapper required on individual workstations. For example, a form can
be developed to mirror current field data proformas allowing data entry to proceed as per
field sheets

An advantage of this development once instigated includes simpler and more efficient data
entry and would allow external data entry. It may also assist with data acquisition across
agencies.

The development of data input forms is envisaged for the RAVS and DVTs databases.
Future forms could also be progressed for the NRVIS system provided preliminary trials
are successful.

27
Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology
for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

1.0 INTRODUCTION
This section describes the standard field methods for vegetation assessment in the Northern
Territory (NT) compliant with the Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbooks (Yellow Book
Speight et al., 1990; Blue Book Gunn et al., 1988) and in accordance with national standards of
the National Vegetation Information System (NVIS).

A brief outline of each chapter is provided below.

Chapter 2 provides descriptions of sample sites including types, dimensions, selection


and sampling intensity.
Chapter 3 describes the attributes collected to describe and classify vegetation.
Chapter 4 describes additional attributes to collect pertaining to the physical
environment.
Chapter 5 outlines field data variables and core attributes.

Field survey methods have been refined over a number of years across the Department of Natural
Resources, Environment and the Arts (NRETA). Other agencies are encouraged to adopt these
guidelines and field methodology to ensure the future classification of vegetation data is consistent
across the NT and nationally.

The purpose of vegetation survey field assessment is to:

1. Provide fixed reference points (site data) for the description of delineated map units;

2. Provide quantitative and/or qualitative vegetation community descriptions, and

3. Define the nature of abiotic components and relationships (physical environment).

Vegetation condition assessment may need to be incorporated into vegetation survey field
assessment in the future (refer to Section A - Guidelines, Chapter 9.1).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 28


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

2.0 SAMPLE SITES

2.1 Site Types and Dimensions

Three types of sites are used to assess vegetation. Each type varies in level of detail and purpose:

Full Characterisation Sites

Full characterisation sites are assessed for newly mapped regions. Sites are commonly 20x20
metres with the collection of full floristic and structural information. However, in vegetation
communities such as lineal riparian communities, quadrat size may need to change (eg. 10X50
metres). The 20x20 metre quadrat is deemed a sufficient size to recognise the majority of ground
and mid strata/sub strata species, provided adequate sites are sampled for a particular map unit. A
basal sweep using a basal wedge (bitterlich gauge) is used to determine dominance of woody
species in forests and woodlands. The basal sweep extends beyond the quadrat boundaries to
provide a better representation of the overstorey stratum (refer to Chapter 3.5).

Site data ideally includes a complete species list with associated cover and height values, growth
forms, structural composition by strata, environmental attributes, disturbance and location
information. The completeness of a species list is dependant on the observers familiarity with flora
and the time available to survey a site. Recent surveys collect field data enabling sub-association
(NVIS level VI) attribution providing the scale of mapping is appropriate. Previous survey data was
collected at both association and sub-association levels (NVIS level V & IV respectively).

When deemed appropriate site survey may include a 100m transect to determine foliage projective
cover according to methodologies in Mapping the Forest Cover of the Northern Territory
(NORFOR) (Meakin et al., 2002; refer to Chapter 3.6).

Check Sites

Check sites are less detailed and used to characterise vegetation once a sufficient number of full
characterisation sites have been recorded for a particular vegetation community. A basal sweep is
undertaken to determine species dominance. Cover and height values are estimated or measured
for two to three dominant species in either the dominant or all strata/sub strata. Location
information is also recorded.

Check sites can also be used to validate mapping prior to full characterisation site sampling.

Road notes

Road notes are useful to substantiate mapping patterns recorded from a vehicle whilst in motion.
Cover and height estimates for two to three dominant species in either the dominant or all
strata/sub strata are recorded.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 29


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

2.2 Site Selection and Sampling Intensity

Sample sites are selected and located to cover the geographic range and variation of each map
unit within a survey area. Various sample design strategies are used for vegetation survey
including the placement of sites on a random basis, stratified random, grid or purposive. The
purposive approach is used for the majority of surveys conducted by NRETA Land and Vegetation
where a preliminary map is generated to assist in site selection.

Protocols have been formulated and published in the Australian Soil and Land Survey Handbook:
Guidelines for Conducting Surveys Blue Book (Gunn et al., 988) for the number of sites required
at a particular scale of mapping (Table 10).

Table 10. Recommended sampling intensity for various scales of mapping.

Scale of Published Map Area in Hectares Recommended Example:


represented by 1cm2 Sampling Density 1km2 Mapping 1000 km2
on map No. of Sites

1:5 000 0.25 100 100 000

1:10 000 1 25 25 000

1:25 000 6.25 4 4 000

1:50 000 25 1 1 000

1:100 000 100 0.25 250

1:250 000 625 0.04 40

1:1 000 000 10 000 0.003 3


Source: Gunn et al. (1988)

In the NT, the recommended number of sites required for a particular scale of mapping may not
always be possible as areas are vast and access difficult. The use of preliminary mapping to target
areas can reduce site number requirements. As a general rule, when few new species are being
identified in a vegetation community across a survey area, sampling intensity can be considered
adequate.

Sites can be selected prior to field work from preliminary mapping or during field survey. The
geographic ranges of each discrete map unit should be assessed by sampling adequate sites.
Edge effects resulting from disturbance such as development (i.e. roads) or natural phenomena
(i.e. fire) should also be considered during site placement. As field survey proceeds and the
character of a map unit becomes clear and remains consistent, sites are assessed in new patterns.

The use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies in recent years has improved the ability
of locating predetermined sites and provides fairly accurate geo-referencing of sampled sites. GPS
can also assist general navigation within a survey area and combined with computer based GIS,
allow the viewing of preliminary mapping and/or interpretive data in real time.

For more detail on sample design, intensity and adequacy refer to Chapter 5 of the Australian Soil
and Land Survey Handbook: Guidelines for Conducting Surveys Blue Book (Gunn et al., 1988);
Neldner and Butler (in prep); Neldner et al. (1995) and Neldner et al. (in press).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 30


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

3.0 DESCRIBING VEGETATION


NRETA Land and Vegetation employ a physiognomic-floristic approach to vegetation description
and classification. The approach is based on a standard methodology initially developed for the
Vegetation Survey of the NT (Wilson et al., 1990) and expanded in accordance with national
standards. The physiognomy refers to the broad structural features of the vegetation including
cover and height values, growth forms and stratum. The floristic component refers to the species
composition at a site.

3.1 Species

Species composition is a fundamental component of a vegetation community. A species list is an


essential element of a vegetation survey and defining floristic assemblages is a major step in the
analysis of site data. The analysis of site data using statistical packages is influenced by the
number of species at a site.

All species occurring at a site should be recorded if possible. The occurrence of species at any one
time is dependent on seasonality, stages of community succession and degree of disturbance.
Depending on the purpose of a survey, sites may need revisiting to record full floristic information.
Reference should be made on the site sheet as to the adequacy of the species list at the time of
sampling.

Unrecognised species should be collected for identification in the NT Herbarium.

Flora of Conservation Significance


Flora of conservation significance or species meeting a range of criteria (i.e. Data Deficient) as per
the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List Categories (IUCN, 2001) should be
collected to voucher in the NT Herbarium and consequently recorded on the Holtze taxonomic
specimen database.
IUCN categories are listed in Appendix 11. For a list of NT threatened species refer to:
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/threatened/index.html

Weeds
Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) and NT Declared Weeds should be recorded. Weed data
collected should be made available to the Weed Management Branch of NRETA for updating the
NT weeds database. Core attributes and supplementary data collection sheets have recently been
developed for recording weed data in the NT (refer to Appendix 12 for directions & Appendix 13 for
weeds field sheet).

For a list of WoNS refer to:


http://www.weeds.org.au/natsig.htm
For a list of NT Declared Weeds refer to:
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/naturalresources/weeds/ntweeds/declared.html

3.2 Vegetation Profiles: Stratum Concept


Users find vegetation information easier to understand when vegetation communities are portrayed
with simple structural and floristic descriptors. While no one classification system will satisfy all
purposes, consensus on describing and mapping vegetation favours a system based on:
structural formation, (eg. growth form: tree, grass etc.);
height (growth form measured in metres), and
cover (percent cover of each growth form).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 31


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

These are provided for each stratum (layers of vegetation) and are complemented by floristic
information (McKenzie et al., 2006).
The vertical profile of vegetation is categorised by stratum, which in theory correspond to natural
clusters of plant material (Figure 4). These clusters obviously have overlap and thus strict
depiction in terms of height and cover can be subjective making delineation difficult or arbitrary.

Vegetation survey in the NT has traditionally recognised three strata, if they exist (i.e. upper, mid &
lower/ground). As some vegetation structures can be complex (more so in southern regions),
national guidelines were implemented to recognise a possible eight strata/sub strata (Table 11).
This has been incorporated in field sheets used by NRETA Land and Vegetation. The number of
strata/sub strata existing or recognisable at a site can vary depending on vegetation complexity
and observer perception. Distinct layering in some instances may not occur (eg. rainforest) where
the vegetation profile is continuous from the canopy downwards.

Table 11. Traditional stratum codes and NVIS sub stratum codes and descriptions.

Traditional NVIS Description Traditional Growth Height Not allowed


Stratum Stratum Forms* Classes*
Sub-
Code
Stratum Name
(Walker &
Code
Hopkins,
1990)
U U1 Tallest tree sub- Upper, tree Trees, tree 8,7,6 (5). Grasses,
stratum. mallees, shrubs & low
Overstorey/Canopy
palms, mallee
For forests and
(If only one tree vines shrubs.
woodlands this
layer occurs it is (mallee
will generally be
coded U1). shrubs)
the dominant
stratum. Also:
epiphytes,
For a continuum
lichens.
(eg. no distinct or
discernible
layering in the
vegetation) the
tallest stratum
becomes the
defining sub-
stratum.
U2 Sub-canopy layer,
second tree layer.
U3 Sub-canopy layer,
third tree layer.
M M1 Tallest shrub Mid, shrub (if only Shrubs, low (6) 5,4,3. Mid & low
layer. one mid layer trees, grasses,
occurs it is coded mallee sedges,
M2 Second shrub M1). shrubs, rushes &
layer. vines, (low forbs.
M3 Third shrub layer. shrubs, tall
Mid & tall
grasses, tall
trees/ palms.
forbs, tall
sedges)
grass-trees,
tree-ferns,
cycads,
palms.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 32


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Also:
epiphytes,
lichens.
G G1 Tallest ground Lower, ground (if Grasses, (4,3) 2,1. Trees, tree-
species. only one ground forbs, mallees &
layer occurs it is sedges, palms.
G2 Ground. coded G1). rushes,
vines,
lichens,
epiphytes,
low shrubs,
ferns,
bryophytes,
cycads,
grass-trees,
aquatics,
seagrasses.
* Refer to Table 7 for Growth Forms and Table 9 for Height Classes. Source: ESCAVI (2003)

Generally no more than five strata should be identified in NT savannah regions. In some areas less
than three strata may exist. It is recommended to maintain the description of three traditional
strata, adding additional strata/sub strata if they are obvious and discernable (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Sub-strata vegetation profiles for two vegetation communities (ESCAVI, 2003).

Once strata/sub strata have been recognised, overall cover, height values and species are
recorded. The combination of height and cover values of a particular stratum defines the structural
formation.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 33


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

3.3 Cover

Cover is defined as the proportion of a site covered by a particular species or vegetation strata.
Cover can be expressed as a real value (estimated or measured) or placed into a predefined cover
class category (Mueller-Dombois & Ellenberg, 1974; Causton, 1988). Table 12 outlines a variety of
cover type measures.

Cover is normally expressed as a percentage where the maximum cover of any one species is 100
percent. The most common practice is an estimation of cover, although a number of methods can
be used to reduce observer bias or error (eg. crown separation ratio methods & point-intercept
techniques).

It is recommended to estimate or measure cover values in the field rather than placing it directly
into a predefined cover class as this degrades the value of the data (i.e. entry of values rather than
classes allows re-classification of the data if required).

Table 12. Cover and abundance measures.

Cover Type Description

Crown cover is defined as the percentage of the sample site within the
vertical projection of the periphery of the crowns. In this case crowns are
Crown or
treated as opaque (Walker & Hopkins, 1990).
Canopy Cover %
Crown cover is estimated using the mean gap between crowns divided by
mean crown width - crown separation ratio (Walker & Hopkins, 1990) or by
visual estimate.

Foliage cover is defined as the percentage of the sample site occupied by the
vertical projection of foliage and branches (if woody) (Walker & Hopkins,
1990).
Foliage Cover %
For ground vegetation, it is measured using line intercept methods. It will, to
some degree take into account the thickness of a tussock or hummock of
grass.
% crown cover x crown type (Walker & Hopkins, 1990).

The percentage of a strictly defined quadrat area, covered by vegetation,


Percentage generally applicable for the ground vegetation that has been estimated rather
Cover than measured using line intercept methods. It does not necessarily take into
account thickness of a tussock or hummock of grass.
Values may include the minimum, maximum, mean and median.

Foliage The percentage of the sample site occupied by the vertical projection of
Projective Cover foliage only (Walker & Hopkins, 1990).
Values may include the minimum, maximum, mean and median.

Abundance
Cover Abundance Rating (implies cover values):
Braun-Blanquet cover abundance scale for estimating species quantities
(modified from Mueller-Dombois & Ellenberg, 1974).
Square metres per hectare.
Basal Area
NOTE: Strict definition of any quantitative values found with vegetation data and must be strictly adhered to.
Source: ESCAVI (2003)

For land unit and vegetation surveys, the standard cover type used is canopy cover for the upper
stratum and percentage cover or foliage cover for mid and ground strata/sub strata. It is important
to note the cover type used for a survey to avoid misinterpretation during the analysis phase.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 34


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Foliage Cover

Foliage cover is relatively straight forward and should be recorded at each site. The method
involves estimating crown density (referred to as crown type - Walker & Hopkins, 1990) for canopy
cover trees (i.e. the amount of plant material in comparison to sky within a quadrat). Five or six
estimates should be made then averaged.

Foliage cover is determined by:


Foliage cover = Canopy cover * Crown density (value from 0 to 1)

3.4 Height

The height of strata/sub strata as opposed to individual specie heights, is recorded for land unit
and vegetation surveys. A number of height types are presented in Table 13.

As a rule, we record the average height of the strata. The average height of a stratum is recorded
by measuring where the bulk of vegetative material falls within a particular stratum (Figure 5).
Recognition of this point is subjective and may differ between observers. The range in height for
each stratum/sub stratum is also measured and recorded.

Amalgamation of stratum heights and ranges from a number of sites for a particular vegetation
community is used to determine the structural formation (i.e. classification).

Table 13. Description of height types for stratum and growth form.

Height Type Stratum Growth Form Explanation

Layer height of the top


stratum (top of the canopy or
the top of the bulk of the
Layer height or pre-
Forests, woodlands, shrublands, vegetative material making up
dominate height (general Any
grasslands. the stratum) that may be
vegetation mapping).
present, by measuring three
to four of the tallest canopy
trees or shrubs.

Average height of the stratum


Average height (general Forests, woodlands, shrublands, where the bulk of the
Any
vegetation mapping). grasslands. vegetative material falls within
a particular stratum.

General height of the top of


the tallest canopy layer, which
may not necessarily be the
dominant stratum. The
minimum and maximum
Top height (forestry). U1, U2 Forests.
values will not give any
indication of canopy depth.
This height category may
indicate U1 as emergent layer
and U2 as the dominant layer.

Source: ESCAVI (2003)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 35


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Top ht

Layer ht

Average ht
U1

U2

M1 Layer ht ground

G1
G2

Figure 5. Vegetation profile height types (ESCAVI, 2003).

A direct reading clinometer is used to measure heights and slope. Three to four heights should be
measured for each stratum/sub stratum and mean value and range recorded. Heights for upper
and mid strata/sub strata should be measured, not estimated. The ground stratum/sub stratum can
be estimated fairly accurately. Heights using a clinometer are measured in the following way:

1. The horizontal distance from base of tree is measured (generally paced out) either 15
or 20 metres depending on which of the two scales on the clinometer is measured
against (fixed distance of 15 or 20 metres);
2. Looking through the clinometer the horizontal line is aligned with the measurement
point in the canopy and the reading noted;
3. Repeat step 2 but to the base of the tree, or for leaning trees ground point directly
underneath the first measurement;
4. If the base of the tree is above you (i.e. you are on a downward slope) subtract the
base reading from the layer height reading, and
5. If the base of the tree is below you (i.e. you are on an upward slope) add both
readings together.

3.5 Basal Area

A basal wedge (bitterlich gauge) is used to determine species dominance in the upper and mid
strata/sub strata. Both live and dead woody species are recorded. This technique is more
applicable to open forest, woodlands and open woodlands and provides an easy and unbiased
estimate of species diversity. It also measures species outside the quadrat to provide a better
representation of the broader vegetation community. The species with the highest count is
recorded to as the dominant. A basal sweep is especially useful in instances where one tree
canopy covers 100% of a site, therefore not reflecting overall species mix for a particular
vegetation community.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 36


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

The method involves a 360O sweep from the centre of a site quadrat with the basal wedge. Four
gaps or basal area factors (BAF) can be used (1.0, 0.75, 0.5 & 0.25). Woody species are counted
for each species (dead & alive) provided they are larger or equal to the gap size selected. The
selection of the BAF is dependent on the density of vegetation (i.e. in denser stands a larger gap
size should be used & vice versa). As a general rule, the sweep should count no more than 50
individuals. A quick sweep using the four gaps may be required to determine the optimal BAF.

Basal area is determined by multiplying the BAF by the count for each species. Total basal area or
stand basal area can be determined from addition of species basal areas.
Basal area (m2/ha) per species = BAF Count of species
Total basal area or stand basal area (m2/ha) = Sum of individual basal areas

Basal area measurements can be used for other applications such as determining relationships
with Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and satellite data, biomass estimates
(provided equations exist) for basal area and biomass and characterisation of sites.

For standard vegetation surveys and land unit surveys, individual tree diameters and heights are
not measured. For particular surveys such as the Mangrove Survey of Darwin Harbour
(Brocklehurst & Edmeades, 1995) and Mangrove Survey of Bynoe Harbour (Brocklehurst &
Edmeades, 2003), diameters and heights of all trees within a quadrat boundary, or all trees
counted within a basal sweep, are individually measured.

For more information on basal area and diameters refer to NSW Field Manual (Technical Paper No
59), Tree Measurement Manual for Farm Forestry (Abed & Stephens, 2002) and Survey Manual
for Tropical Marine Resources (English et al., 1997).

3.6 Foliage Projective Cover

Foliage projective cover can be measured using one or more 100 metre transects. The collection
of foliage projective cover is adjunct to standard survey procedures. It is particularly useful for
interpreting satellite images and is not generally undertaken for standard vegetation surveys.

Transect methodology follows that of Queensland SLATS (Kuhnell et al., 1998).


Each site comprises one 100 metre transect (Figure 6) defined by a 100 metre tape laid along a
grid bearing aligned North/South or East/West (Meakin et al., 2001). The bearing determined
depends on the most representative portion of surrounding homogenous vegetation. Coordinates
(Eastings/Northings & Latitude/Longitude) are recorded at the transect beginning and end.

0m 25m 50m 75m 100m

Figure 6. Foliage projective cover transect set up and design.

A line-intercept method is used to assess over storey and under storey plant cover and type at one
metre intervals along a 100 metre transect. Cover is recorded at the cross hairs of a sighting tube
and placed in a category listed below. Transects can also be used to gauge over storey canopy
cover by estimating a percentage within the dimensions of a sighting tube at one metre intervals
and averaged for 100 recordings.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 37


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Under storey categories are scored as:


GL green leaf (grasses, forbs, sedges, vines, ferns etc);
DL dead leaf (still attached to the plant);
Tr Lit tree litter (leaves, twigs, branches, logs etc);
Gr Lit grass litter (not attached to the plant);
BA bare earth (soil, gravel & rock outcrop), and
SH shrubs (palms including Pandanus are recorded in this category).

Over storey categories are scored as:


GL green leaf (trees, shrubs & palms);
DL dead leaf;
BR branch (trees, shrubs & palms), and
SK sky.

The scores are added to determine percentages for each category and to provide an overall foliage
projective cover percentage.

More than one transect is required per site if the primary purpose of a survey is to measure foliage
projective cover. Stand basal area can be used to establish the number of replicate transects
required for sampling (Table 14).

Table 14. Basal area and suggested transect length.

BA Count Number of Replicate Transects and Length (m)


<3 3 x 100
3-7 2 x 100
>7 1 x 100
Source: SLATS (Kuhnell et al., 1998)

When basal area of woody species is low, a basal sweep may not be necessary.
Site data recorded at each transect includes the standard vegetation survey measurements
provided herein.

3.7 Growth Form

For each growth form identified at a site an average height and cover value is recorded.
The dominant growth form for each stratum/sub stratum is also recorded. The NVIS framework has
identified a set of growth forms to be applied nationally (Table 7).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 38


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

4.0 PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT


The description of landform and soil supplements core vegetation data. The collection of detailed
landform and soils data for pure vegetation mapping is not mandatory.

NRETA Land and Vegetation undertake both vegetation mapping and integrated land resource
mapping. The priority of a survey is determined in response to land use demand.

4.1 Integrated Information

There are clear relationships between landform, soil and vegetation across the NT. A unique
integrated or land unit approach to mapping landscape properties (Laity, 1971) has been
practiced across the Territory for many years. In most other States soil, landform and vegetation
information is collected independently, often by different government agencies.

Integrating soil, landform and vegetation data has allowed extensive value adding to datasets.
Spatial data and mapping products can now contain soil and landform information as well as
agricultural potential, erosion risk, vegetation information, native pasture ratings and sensitive or
significant habitats. In the absence of detailed soil and landform information across a region,
government agencies may use auxiliary data such as vegetation site data to make comment on a
landscape. In these situations it is important landscape information is correct and recorded to
national standards.

Integrated surveys include two types: land systems and land units. The concept of a land system
is defined as an area or group of areas, throughout which there is a recurring pattern of
topography (land forms), soils and vegetation (Christian & Stewart, 1953). Changes to the pattern
indicate the boundary of the land system. Land units are considered to be relatively uniform areas
of topography, soils and vegetation a land system being an assemblage of varying proportions of
land units (Lynch & Wilson, 1997). NT land systems are typically mapped at scales between 1:250
000 and 1:1 000 000 whilst land unit mapping is usually generated at scales between 1:25 000 and
1:100 000. More information on integrated surveys can be accessed via the following link.
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/naturalresources/soil/survey.html

Field collection methods for landform, land surface and soil properties are clearly set out in
McDonald et al. (1990). Key properties include landform, slope, soil drainage and rock outcrop and
can be recorded with limited training in soil survey or pedology. Additional information pertaining to
soil requires specific training and a detailed profile description.

4.2 Landform Element and Pattern

Landform is described at two levels, element and pattern.


Landform element describes the land surface within a 20 metre radius of a site. Landform pattern
looks at the broader picture, usually within 300 metres. Landform descriptions provide users a
picture of the landscape. For example, a stream channel (element) is described within a wider
floodplain (pattern).

Recording landform at two levels allows users to interpret information at different scales. Landform
descriptions have several purposes that are useful in predicting land degradation as a result of
particular land uses. When documenting landform element and pattern records should be kept
simple and detailed notes taken.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 39


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

For landform codes and descriptions see Appendix 14.


For more information on landform refer to Speight (1990) in the Australian Soil and Land Survey
Field Handbook (Yellow Book).

4.3 Land Surface

A number of attributes may be collected pertaining to land surface and provide useful information
in describing aspects of the landscape. Attributes may include:

Aspect/slope: recorded as a percentage. On hill slopes the maximum slope is


recorded, although stream channels maybe more complex and slope should be
recorded to indicate the general pattern of drainage.
Disturbance: includes anthropogenic (clearing) and natural (fire & grazing);
Microrelief: refers to relief up to a few metres (i.e. termite mounds);
Erosion: record both accelerated erosion and natural erosion, and
Ground cover: six categories are recorded and must equate to 100% of the quadrat. A
percentage estimate is recorded for bare soil, vegetation littler, rock cover, gravel cover,
crust cover and vegetation cover (lower stratum). Where gravel (coarse fragments) and
rock outcrop are recorded, coarse fragments must be distinguished from rock outcrop.
Rock outcrop is defined to be attached to soil substrate, parent material or underlying
geology; gravel is loose and unattached. Soil surveyors typically ignore all vegetation
(live, dead or litter) and record rock / gravel cover assuming that the balance is bare
soil.

For descriptions of mandatory and optional attributes to record refer to Chapter 5.1.

For more information on land surface elements refer to McDonald et al. (1990) in the Australian
Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook (Yellow Book).

4.4 Soil

The classification of soils is not a mandatory requirement for vegetation survey and mapping.
Without assistance from a pedologist it is not recommended that detailed soil descriptions be
undertaken or soil classifications be extrapolated from land surface and vegetation information.

Depending on a survey purpose basic soil information may be collected including:


Colour: Munsell Soil Colour Chart is used to compare soil against. Dry and wet colours
should be recorded as soil colour can influence image classification of satellite imagery,
provided this is the interpretive base, and
Field Texture: Field texture grades are used to describe texture based on the
percentage of clay, silt and sand (size distribution of mineral particles finer than 2mm).
Surface soil texture is adequate for vegetation surveys.

See McDonald and Isbell (1990) in the Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook (Yellow
Book) for detailed information on soil profile and attributes therein.

Where soils are being classified for any given survey, national standards should be adhered to.
There have been three main classification systems in the NT and Australia to describe soils. Since
1996 all States and Territories have adopted The Australian Soil Classification (Isbell, 2003). For
common soil orders across the NT refer to Appendix 15.
To access more information on the Australian Soil Classification go to the following link:
http://www.clw.csiro.au/aclep/asc/asc.htm

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 40


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Soil Drainage

Soil drainage is a key property of soil and land surface across the NT, especially in the Top End.
Drainage should reflect both soil permeability and site drainage (McDonald et al., 1990); confusion
arises between the two. For example, a site located in a closed depression or swamp is considered
poorly to very poorly drained even though the sandy nature of the soil is highly permeable and
internally rapidly drained. The overriding influence is the landform (closed depression or swamp)
and therefore should be recorded as poorly drained.

Simplified drainage classes include:

Rapidly to Moderately Well: seasonal soil waterlogging not expected except during
extreme rainfall events;
Imperfect to Poor: seasonal soil waterlogging could be expected in most years for
short periods or after above average wet seasons, and
Poor to Very Poor: seasonal waterlogging or inundation expected in most years.

For detailed descriptions of drainage classes refer to McDonald et al. (1990) in the Australian Soil
and Land Survey Field Handbook (Yellow Book).
.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 41


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

5.0 FIELD DATA VARIABLES


The minimum quantitative data set (core attributes) required to describe and classify vegetation are
listed in Table 15. All vegetation mapping surveys should record at least this data. Additional
attributes are listed in Chapter 5.1 and 5.3.

Table 15. Vegetation site data core attributes.

Core Attribute Category Core Attributes

Survey 1. Survey Name


2. Survey Code
3. Site Number
4. Date
Location and Geo-referencing 5. Longitude (zone & datum inc)
6. Latitude (zone & datum inc)
Landform 7. Landform Element
8. Landform Pattern
Broad Vegetation 9. Vegetation Classification System (i.e. NVIS)
10. Dominant Vegetation Structure (for dominant stratum)
11. Vegetation Community/ Classification Description
(NVIS association or sub association level)
Upper Stratum 12. Growth form
13. Cover (% canopy cover)
14. Average height and range
15. Species present (at least dominant species)
Mid Stratum 16. Growth form
17. Cover (% foliage projective cover)
18. Average height and range
19. Species present (at least dominant species)
Lower Stratum 20. Growth form
21. Cover (% foliage projective cover)
22. Average height and range
23. Species present (at least dominant species)
NOTE: sub strata should be recorded if present as per NVIS

Three proformas are used by NRETA Land and Vegetation to record field data and are for general
vegetation surveys.

1. Habitat Sheet: standard for full and check sites (Appendix 16);

2. Flora Sheet: standard for full and check sites (Appendix 17), and

3. FPC Sheet: filled out in conjunction with full sites or not at all depending on survey
purpose (Appendix 18).

Different proformas are currently being used across divisions of NRETA and other agencies in the
NT. Provided the core vegetation attributes (Table 15) are collected the design of the proforma is
not overly important.

Data collected for each site type is summarised in Table 16.


For a brief outline of site data collection procedures and equipment required refer to Appendix 19.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 42


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Table 16. Data recorded on field data proformas for sampling full sites, check sites and road notes.

Field Data Data Recorded Full Site Check Site Road Note
Proforma

Survey a a a
Location and Geo-referencing a a a
Physical Environment a - -
Disturbance a - -
Habitat Sheet
Landform a - -
Ground Cover a - -
Broad Vegetation Structure a a a
Stratum Summary
Survey a a a
Floristics a All species a 1 to 5 a1 to 3
dominant dominant
species in each species in each
stratum stratum
Cover (crown or canopy cover aAll species a 2 to 3 -
% for upper the stratum/sub estimate. For dominant
Flora Sheet stratum & FPC for mid and species less than species in each
ground strata/sub strata) 1% abc applies. stratum
a 1-5 plants
b 6-50 plants
c - >50
Height Range and Average aspecies >1% aspecies >1% -
cover cover
Basal Count and Factor a a -

Foliage Projective Cover When applicable -


FPC Sheet
Canopy Cover Estimate When applicable -

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 43


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

5.1 Habitat Sheet

The habitat sheet provides a description of the physical environment and a structural summary of
the site. The following variables are recorded for full characterisation sites. Check sites record a
sub set of these variables (Table 16).

Variables which should be collected at every site are in bold. Optional attributes are shaded.

Survey

Site No. Unique label for each site.

Date DDMMYYYY format.

Observer The person/s recording the information at a site. Christian and


surname in full.

Survey Name of the survey.

Survey type Full Site = F or Check Site = C.

Survey detail Full or Targeted - a measure of the completeness of species


recorded at the site. Full species complement (at time of survey) or
targeted survey for particular species (eg. only woody species
recorded: only species with >1% cover recorded)

Quadrat size Size of the site quadrat (most quadrats in the northern region of NT
are 20 by 20 metres).

UMA Preliminary map unit code.

Patch size (ha) Estimate of the homogenous patch size in which the site is located.

NVIS code & description Written code and description of the site according to NVIS
nomenclature. This can be filled out in the office when determined
from the stratum summary table and species list. It provides a
summary of vegetation at the site (i.e. T6r Corymbia
dichromophloia low open woodland).
Walker & Hopkins code &
description Written code and description of the site according to Walker and
Hopkins (1990). This can be filled out in the office when determined
from the stratum summary table and species list. It provides a
summary of vegetation at the site (i.e. MHOW Eucalyptus miniata
mid high open woodland).

Location and Geo-referencing

Location description Usually park name, station name or sample region. Site details and
location in relation to roads, tracks, creeks, landscape features is
recorded here. This should be sufficient to relocate the site.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 44


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Zone Map zone for Australian Map Grid.

GPS AMG Precise location/geo reference sourced from GPS for both
easting/northing and longitude/latitude.

Datum The datum in which geo referencing was sourced (GDA94 is the
default record if different from this).

Precision The precision of the geo referencing expressed in metres (this may
be given by some GPS units or an estimate).New GPS and satellite
configurations allow accuracy to 10m.

GPS Level The level of GPS reading used to generate geo referencing (eg.
single reading; averaged readings; differential).

Elevation Elevation above mean sea level derived from topographic map or
from a GPS.

Elevation source Source of the elevation reading (eg. topographic map, GPS or
DEM).

Slope Measured in degrees using a clinometer. Estimate a mean slope for


heterogeneous sites.

Aspect The direction the slope faces expressed as degrees from north.
Leave blank for 0 slopes.

Photo ref. No. For film cameras film and photo number are recorded and for digital
cameras, photo number is recorded. Aspect and description of the
photo is documented for film and digital cameras.

Aerial Photography ref. Name: Name of project;


Year: Year flown;
Run No: Run number;
Frame No.: Frame number;
East reference: Position of site in millimetres measured east from
western edge of photo, and
North reference: Position of site in millimetres measured north from
southern edge of photo.

Map sheet name The name and/or number of the topographic sheet where the site is
located.

Map scale The scale of the topographic map where the site is located.

Map unit/Land unit Code describing the vegetation community or land unit for the site
(delineated from unique mapping area boundaries). Note: Map unit
pertains to vegetation mapping and land unit pertains to land unit
mapping.

Physical Environment

Surface soil texture Broad texture classes relating to the amount of clay in the soil as
per classes listed in the Australian Soil and Land Survey and Field
Handbook - Yellow Book (McDonald et al., 1990).
Sand, loamy sand, clayey sand, sandy loam, loam, silty loam, sandy
clay loam, clay loam, clay loam sandy, silty clay loam, light clay,
light medium clay, medium clay, medium heavy clay, heavy clay.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 45


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Soil depth (cm) Estimate or measure of soil depth

Soil pH Measure soil pH at the surface.

Geology Underlying geology taken from geology maps

Munsell colour Munsell colour description of surface soil (wet & dry).

Climate Time since rain assessed on a 1 to 4 scale:


1 = Dry, evidence of plant stress;
2 = Dry, no evidence of plant stress;
3 = Recent rain but no evidence of vegetation response, and
4 = Recent rain and noticeable vegetation response.
(more relevant to southern regions of the NT)

Additional notes:
Dry survey conducted during prolonged periods where no rain has
fallen. Plants may show signs of stress depending on the length of
time since rain.
Recent rain (no visible impact on vegetation) Some rain prior
to or during survey but insufficient quantity, or too recent to have
visible impact other than slight greening of shallow-rooted
perennials.
Recent rain (visible impact on vegetation) Sufficient rain prior
or during field survey to stimulate germination, especially of annual
species. With sufficient soil moisture, annuals will develop to
maturity and regeneration of perennials will be evident.

Nearest water The type of water body closest to the site including an estimate of
the distance (km). Aerial photography and topographic maps were
traditionally used to determine this, more recently digital mosaic
aerial photography and GIS can calculate distance.

Swamp;
Spring;
Permanent Creek;
Ephemeral Creek;
Permanent Pool;
Ephemeral Pool;
Tidal;
Bore, and
Dam.

Site drainage Four categories were derived from the soil proforma for land
unit/system mapping:

1 = Well to Moderate;
2 = Imperfect;
3 = Poor, and
4 = Very Poor.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 46


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Disturbance
Traditionally, disturbance has been measured at each site using the
categories listed below. However it is difficult to extrapolate the point
site data over the whole spatial extent of the mapping unit. Vegetation
condition assessments (see Section A: Guideline - Chapter 9.1) may
need to be included in future surveys, in addition to the normal site
disturbance measures.

Site disturbance Various disturbances are listed and recorded as a percentage


covering the site:

None;
Limited clearing;
Extensive clearing;
Cultivation;
Gravel pit;
Mining;
Exotic weeds;
Salinity;
Flood;
Pig rooting;
Die-back, and
Other (eg. grazing).

Frequency of disturbance is also recorded.


Current disturbance;
Single recent 1-10 yrs
Few recent 1-10 yrs;
Disturbs all >10 yrs;
Disturbs <10 yrs, and
Other.

Grazing Grazing type and intensity, more than one type of grazing can be
recorded:
Nil;
Light;
Moderate, and
Heavy.
Categories of grazing include:
Cattle;
Horses,
Native Herbivores;
Pigs, and
Others.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 47


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Last fire Record whether site was burnt and an estimate of time of burn from
fire scars and regeneration. Generally try to find an unburnt site
although this is often difficult. Fire frequencies can now be
determined from spatial coverages produced by the Bush Fire
Council of the NT:

Nil;
During the current year (this year - <1 yr);
The previous year (last year 1to2 yrs);
Fire scars present but apparently old (2-5 yrs), and
No sign of fire or its effects (long unburnt - >5yrs).

An estimate of fire intensity is also recorded based on the level of


damage to the vegetation:

No damage;
Minor impact scars on some trees/shrubs;
Minor impact scars on most trees/shrubs, and
Some trees/shrubs killed.

Landform

Landform pattern Derived from McDonald et al., (1990). Refer to 14 for landform
pattern codes and descriptions.

Landform element Derived from McDonald et al., (1990). Refer to Appendix 14 for
landform element codes and descriptions.

Ground Cover

Bare soil (%) Estimate percentage cover of bare ground/soil for the quadrat that
can be seen.

Vegetation litter (%) Estimate percentage cover of attached and loose vegetation litter
over the quadrat that can be seen (e.g. dead Triodia attached to
living clump is including as vegetation litter).

Rock cover (%) Estimate percentage of bedrock, rock or stones (>2cm diameter)
over the quadrat that can be seen.

Gravel cover (%) Estimate percentage of gravel (<2cm diameter) over the quadrat
that can be seen.

Crust cover (%) Estimate percentage cover of cryptogram (algal crusting) over the
quadrat that can be seen.
Vegetation cover
(ground stratum %) Estimate percentage of vegetation (alive) for the quadrat that can be
seen.

Note: The above six ground cover categories must equate to 100%
for the quadrat.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 48


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Substrate size Percentage of substrate types derived from McDonald et al., (1990)
into the following size classes:

Pebbles <0.6cm;
Gravel 0.6-2cm;
Stones 2-6cm;
Small Rocks 6-20cm;
Rocks 20-60cm;
Large Rocks 20cm-2m, and
Boulders >2m.

Lithology This field includes lithology type, proportion of rock as a percentage


estimate, average size class determined from the substrate size
classes and if a specimen was collected, as per McDonald et al.,
(1990).

Microrelief Categories are derived from McDonald et al., (1990) - only those
applicable to the northern region of the NT are listed here. Category
and percentage of site affected is recorded. Several micro reliefs
can be recorded.

Zero;
Gilgai;
Melonhole;
Debil Debil;
Swamp Hummock;
Termite Beds;
Vegetation Root Mounds, and
Other.

Erosion Erosion types are derived from McDonald et al. (1990). For each
erosion type the state of erosion is estimated A = active, S =
stabilised and P = partly stabilised. The percentage of erosion
covering the site is also estimated. More than one erosion type can
be documented.

Scald;
Sheet;
Rill;
Gully;
Tunnel;
Stream bank;
Mass movement, and
Other.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 49


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

Broad Vegetation Structure

Stratum summary table This table summarises the vegetation of the site and is used to
classify vegetation for the site (not the map unit). The dominant
stratum/sub stratum should be indicated.
Traditionally three strata have been described. Up to eight sub
strata can be described according to NVIS (refer to Section B: Field
Methodology - Chapter 3.2).
Where three or less strata are apparent, the shaded areas on the
proforma should be used (eg. T1 is equivalent to the dominant
upper stratum).

This table summaries vegetation structural information for a site


including:
Cover Overall cover of the site for each stratum/sub stratum.
These values are generally estimated. Percentage canopy
cover (CC) is used for upper and mid strata/sub strata and
percentage cover for the lower stratum (refer to Section B: Field
Methodology - Chapter 3.3);
Height Average height and height range for each stratum/sub
stratum measured with a clinometer (refer to Section B: Field
Methodology - Chapter 3.4), and
Growth Form the dominant for each stratum (refer to Section
B: Field Methodology - Chapter 3.7).
Crown density- (refer to Section B: Field Methodology -
Chapter 3.6).

Crown separation ratio (CSR) Used to determine upper stratum cover values. Method as per
Walker and Hopkins (1990). Cover values are commonly estimated.
For observers new to vegetation survey the CSR method provides a
more rigorous and less subjective technique, and should be used
until estimates can be made with reasonable accuracy.

Growth form table Average heights and overall percentage cover for each growth form
is recorded. Growth forms as per NVIS Attribute Manual (ESCAVI,
2003) with some additional structural categories.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 50


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

5.2 Flora Sheet

The flora sheet is used to describe species composition and vegetation structure.
The flora sheet should always be completed with the habitat sheet.
The following variables are for full characterisation sites.

Survey

Survey name Name of survey (as per habitat sheet).

Site No. Unique number for each site (as per habitat sheet).

Date DDMMYYYY format.

Floristics and Structural Formation

Floristics
Record all plant species present in the quadrat. The completeness
of the list will depend upon the season, state of vegetation,
botanical knowledge and time available to survey the site.

Cover
For each species, the actual percentage cover is estimated and
recorded in the relevant stratum/sub stratum. One species may
occur in a number of strata/sub strata. For the upper stratum/sub
stratum, crown or canopy cover percentage is generally recorded.
For mid and ground strata/sub strata percentage cover is recorded.
Covers less than 1% are assigned abc where:
a = very few individuals (1-5 plants);
b = occasional (6-50 plants), and
c= common (50 plants).
If different cover type measures are used than those above, a note
of this should be made.

Height range and average


For each species with a cover values more than 1%, height range
and average height are estimated for plants less than 2m and
measured with a clinometer for plants more than 2m.

Basal count and factor Basal area is determined by a 360o basal sweep (refer to Section B:
Field Methodology - Chapter 3.5). The basal sweep is conducted
from the centre of the quadrat. Record the count for all species
observed in the basal sweep including dead species. Record the
count for live (BA L) and dead (BA D) in each column for each
species counted. Record the basal area factor used. Actual basal
area can be calculated later (BA m2/ha = count * basal area factor).

The basal sweep extends beyond the 20x20m quadrat to provide a


better estimate of species diversity and dominance for the
vegetation community outside the site. The basal count is used to
determine dominance of species in the upper stratum.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 51


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
SECTION B: FIELD METHODOLOGY

5.3 Foliage Projective Cover Sheet

This is a line-transect intercept method derived from SLATS (Kuhnell et al., 1998). Overstorey and
understorey categories are recorded along a 100 metre transect line at one metre intervals. (refer
to Section B: Field Methodology - Chapter 3.6).

Survey

Site number Unique label for each site.

Survey Name of survey.

Date DDMMYYYY format.

Transect number If more than one transect per site.

Location and Geo-referencing

Transect bearing Direction of transect. Transects where possibly should run North-
South or East-West.

Coords of transect start The position, in AMG coordinates (Eastings/Northings and


Latitude/Longitude), of the transect start. This is usually the north-
east corner of the site.

Coords of transect finish The position, in AMG coordinates (Eastings/Northings and


Latitude/Longitude), of the transect finish.

Foliage Projective Cover

Overstorey Appropriate category is checked: green leaf (GL), dead leaf (DL),
branch BR), or sky (SK).

Understorey Appropriate category is checked: green leaf (GL), dead leaf (DL),
tree litter (Tr lit), grass litter (Gr lit), bare earth (BA) and shrub (SH).

Canopy cover A percentage estimate at each 1m interval then 100 values added
and divided by 100 samples to provide an average canopy cover for
the transect.

TL GL Total green leaf this gets a cross if either understorey or


overstorey green leaf or shrub is marked. Each column is totalled.

GL/SH Total overstorey green leaf and shrub this gets a cross if it
includes either overstorey green leaf or understorey shrub.

Canopy Cover Estimate


At each one meter interval crown or canopy cover percentage is
estimated within the dimensions of the sighting tube for the upper
stratum. The 100 estimates are added and divided by 100 to
determine an overall percentage estimate for the transect.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 52


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
GLOSSARY

GLOSSARY
Abiotic non living; includes such components of the environment as weather and
topography.

Abundance the number of individuals of a species in a given area.

Alliance a series of climax plant communities having the same structural characteristics, the
same species as dominance in the upper layer, and the same or related species in
the understorey.

ANZLIC Metadata minimum requirements for metadata to be included in the Australian Spatial Data
Directory.
Association
Analysis for the purpose of this document refers to statistical techniques for generating
floristic groupings based on presence/absence and/or abundance of species derived
from site data.

ASTER satellite sensor, operated by Japan, launched 1999, 15m and 30/90m resolution,
60km swath.

Basal Area in strict forestry terms it refers to the sectional area of a tree (square metres per
hectare) measured at 1.3 metres above ground.
o
Basal Sweep 360 sweep to determine basal area

Bio-region regions identified at an Australia-wide scale, based on characteristics of landform,


geology and vegetation. Widely used as the appropriate units for conservation and
land use planning, and for comparing conservation priorities across the nation.

Biomass the mass of living matter (plant &/or animals) in a particular area.

Biotic living component (both plants & animals) of a particular region.

Broad Floristic
Formation in NVIS terminology a summary description of the dominant stratum, dominant
genera and dominant structure of a vegetation community.

Canopy the upper most layer of foliage in a forest formed by the crowns of trees.

Canopy Cover the percentage of the total area of a sample site that is covered by a vertical
projection of the crown.

Classification
System a system used to classify vegetation based on growth form, cover and height. Many
different classification systems exist.

Clinometer precision instruments used to measure heights, vertical angles and slope.

Community in the broadest sense refers to an assemblage of interacting populations of plants,


animals, bacteria and fungi sharing a common environment.

Community
Succession the process by which one vegetation community replaces another through time.

Crown Cover another term to describe canopy cover.

Crown Type a crown density measure as per Walker and Hopkins (1990).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 53


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
GLOSSARY

CSR crown separation ratio is the estimation of crown cover using the mean gap between
crowns divided by mean crown width.

Datum geodetic datums define the size and shape of the earth and the origin and
orientation of the coordinate systems used to map the earth. Required to geo-
reference mapping.

Distribution the geographic occurrence of a population or species.

Diversity variety, often expressed as a function of a number of entities in a particular sample,


area.

Ecosystem a dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal and micro-organism communities and
the associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Ecotone a transition zone between two distinct habitats.

ESCAVI the Executive Steering Committee for Australian Vegetation Information. Includes
representatives from all States and Territories and the Australian Government and
guides the maintenance and ongoing development NVIS, including the further
development of standards for vegetation extent information collection and storage.

Flora plant population or list of plants for a particular area arranged in families, genera and
species.

Formation Class growth forms and cover values of species forming the dominant stratum are called
formation classes.

Frequency of
Occurrence the number of times a particular entity occurs within a particular sample.
Genus one of the groupings used in classifying organisms.

Geo-reference to reference mapping or site points in real world coordinates.

Geographic Range the geographical distribution of a species

GIS geographic information system is a computer based system for creating, storing,
analysing and managing spatial data and associated attributes.

GPS global positioning system is a method for locating points, in three dimensions
(latitude, longitude (or UTM), & altitude) on the earths surface using a system of
earth-orbiting satellites.

Growth Form the overall morphology of a plant species, including its stature, leaf type, and habit.

Habitat the place an organism normally lives. Can be measured by their vegetation and
physical characteristics.

Heterogenous consisting of elements that are not of the same kind or nature.

Homogenous all of the same or similar kind or nature.

IBRA sub-region provide a valuable bioregional context for mapping and reporting on the extent and
distribution of vegetation. The focus of this measure is primarily on mapping and
reporting the extent of native vegetation and no detail on IBRA data sets is provided
in this measure.
IKONOS satellite sensor, operated by Space Imaging, launched 1999, 4m resolution, 11km
swath.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 54


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
GLOSSARY

Image
(interpretive material) graphic representation or description of a scene, typically produced by an optical or
electronic device. Common examples include remotely sensed data (satellite data),
scanned data and aerial photographs.

Land Cover the physical coverage of land, including physical and biological cover as vegetation
or man-made features.

Land System an area or group of areas throughout which there is a recurring pattern of
topography, vegetation and soils.

Land Unit a reasonably homogenous part of a land surface, distinct from surrounding terrain
with consistent properties in landform soils or vegetation.

Landform Element described by attributes assessed within a circle of 20m radius including slope,
morphological type, dimensions, geomorphologic activity and geomorphologic
agent.

Landform Pattern described by attributes assessed within a circle of 300m radius including relief,
modal slope, stream channel occurrence, geomorphologic activity and status,
geomorphologic agent and component landform elements.

Landsat5/7 satellite sensor, operated by U.S., launched 1986/1999, 15m and 30m resolution,
185km swath.

Lithology description of rocks on the basis of such characteristics as color, mineral


composition, and grain size. Also, the physical character of a rock.

Map Unit a generalisation concept used in vegetation mapping to identify polygons with
similar combinations of vegetation and landscapes.
o
Map Zone UTM projection of the earth is divided into zones, 6 wide, which for the Australian
continent are zones 38 through 58.

Mapping Scale an important property of a map enabling map user to measure distance on a map to
determine distance on the ground.

Metadata see ANZLIC Metadata.

Microrelief relief up to a few metres above the plane of the land surface. It includes gilgai,
hummocky, biotic and other micro-relief.

Mosaic in context of this document refers to the existence of more than one vegetation
community within an individual map polygon boundary

NDVI normalised difference vegetation index is calculated from the visible and near-
infrared light reflected by vegetation. Healthy vegetation absorbs most of the visible
light that hits it, and reflects a large portion of the near-infrared light. Unhealthy or
sparse vegetation reflects more visible light and less infrared light.

NVIS defines an agreed framework and guidelines for collecting, compiling and monitoring
Australia's vegetation.

NVIS Hierarchy hierarchical classification, defined in the NVIS framework for describing the floristic
and structural attributes of Australia's native vegetation. The hierarchical
classification has six levels (I - VI) from Class to Sub-association.

Ortho-rectification removes image distortions introduced by the collection geometry and the terrain,
and re-samples the imagery to a uniform ground sample distance and user-specified
map projection.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 55


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
GLOSSARY

Overstorey the tallest stratum of a particular vegetation community, referring to canopy


species.

Physiognomy for the purpose of this document refers to the structure of the vegetation eg shape,
height, mass.

Plant Assemblages a group of co-occurring plants

Point Source Data data collected at one location, generally referring to sites

Polygon for the purposes of this document refers to an area defined within boundaries or
spatial entities on a digital map

Preferential
(indicator) Species species or specie group that characterise a vegetation community.

Quadrat fixed unit of area, usually rectangular used for sampling vegetation.

Quickbird satellite sensor, operated by DigitalGlobe, launched 2001, 0.61 and 2.44
resolution, 16km swath.

Pedology the study of soils in its natural environment. Pedology deals with soil classification,
soil morphology and pedogenesis.

Regional Ecosystem vegetation communities in a bioregion that are consistently associated with a
particular combination of geology, landform and soil (Queensland term).

Remote Sensing the measurement or acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by a


recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object. In
practice, remote sensing is the utilization at a distance (as from aircraft, spacecraft,
satellite, or ship) of any device for gathering information about the environment.

Sampling Intensity number of representative sites deemed suitable to map a given area accurately.

Sighting Tube for the purpose of this document refers to a rifle sighting tube used to determine
foliage projective cover and canopy cover along a transect at pre-determined
intervals. The cross hairs are used as the intercept point.

Soil Classification deals with the systematic characterisation of soils based on distinguishing
characteristics.

Soil Texture determined by the size distribution of mineral particles finer than 2mm, that is only
material that will pass a 2mm sieve should be used to determine field texture.

Species
Composition combination of species found in a given area or vegetation community.

Species Diversity variability (species richness & abundance) of biota usually found within a discrete
area.

SPOT5 satellite sensor, operated by CNES/SPOT, launched 1998/2002, resolution 10/5


and 20/10, 60km swath.

Stereoscope device for creating a 3-D images generally used with aerial photography.

Strata plural for stratum.

Stratum visually conspicuous layer, of a measurable depth, in a vegetation community,


produced by the occurrence of an aggregation of branches and photosynthetic
tissue.

Stratum Summary a summary of the dominant growth form, average height and cover values for each
stratum in a vegetation community.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 56


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
GLOSSARY

Structural
Composition the combination of structural characteristics defining vegetation (eg. average
heights & covers for each stratum).

Structural
Formation formation classes qualified by growth form, cover and height found in most
vegetation classification systems.

Topography surface features of a geographical area.

Topographical Maps maps that show topography

Transect line or narrow belt used to survey the distributions of organisms across the given
area.

Understorey refers to shrubs and smaller trees between the forest canopy and the ground
cover.

Unique Mapping Area repeated patterns across landscapes that are definable on interpretive materials
such as spatial, spectral, radiometric and temporal parameters.

Vegetation
Continuum distinct layering in vegetation cannot be easily discerned between two or more
strata.

Vegetation Profile another term to describe vegetation structure.

Vegetation Structure the horizontal and vertical distribution of cover and height of dominant plants.

Voucher Specimen a specimen housed and referenced in a Herbarium.

Note: Definitions have been derived from Lewis (2006) and various sources listed in References (pp. 58).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 57


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
REFERENCES

REFERENCES
Abed, T. & Stephens, N.C. (2003). Tree Measurement Manual for Farm Foresters. Second edition, edited M.
Parsons. National Forest Inventory, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.

ANZLIC. (2001) ANZLIC Metadata Guidelines: Core Metadata Elements for Geographic Data in
Australia and New Zealand, Version 2. ANZLIC, Canberra.

Beadle, N.C.W. & Costin, A.B. (1952) Ecological Classification and Nomenclature: Proceedings
of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 77:61-82.

Beard, J.S. & Webb, M.J. (1974) Great Sandy Desert Vegetation Survey of Western Australia.
Explanatory Notes to Sheet 2. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands.

Belbin, L. (1988) PATN, Pattern Analysis Package. Reference Manuals. CSIRO Division of Wildlife and
Rangelands Research, Canberra.

Benson, J.S. (in press) Classification and Assessment of the Terrestrial Vegetation of New South Wales,
Australia: Aims, Methods and Description of a Database. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Australia.

Bolton, M.P. (Ed.) Vegetation: From Mapping to Decision Support: A Workshop to Establish a Set of Core
Attributes for Vegetation, Version 3.0. Environmental Resources Information
Network, Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.

Brocklehurst, P. (2003) The Northern Territory and Commonwealth of Australia National


Vegetation Information and Analysis: NT Vegetation Site Data Inventory. Department of
Infrastructure Planning and Environment, Natural Systems Division, Palmerston, Northern Territory.

Brocklehurst, P. & Edmeades, B. (1995) Mangrove Survey of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory.
Technical Report No. R96/7. Department of Lands Planning and Environment, Palmerston, Northern
Territory.

Brocklehurst, P & Edmeades, B. (2003) Mangrove Survey of Bynoe Harbour, Northern Territory.
Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment, Natural Systems Division, Palmerston,
Northern Territory.

Brocklehurst, P. & Gibbons, A. (2003) The Northern Territory and Commonwealth of


Australia National Vegetation Information and Analysis: NT Vegetation Compendium Project Report.
Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment, Natural Systems Division, Palmerston,
Northern Territory.
nd
Carnahan, J. (1976) Natural Vegetation In: Atlas of Australian Resources 2
Series. Division of National Mapping, Department of Natural Resources,
Canberra.

Causton, D.R. (1988) Introduction to Vegetation Analysis. Allen & Unwin (Australia) Ltd, 8 Napier Street,
North Sydney, NSW 2060, Australia.

Christian, C. S & Stewart, G. A. (1953) General Report on Survey of the Katherine Darwin Region 1946.
Melbourne, CSIRO Land Research Series No. 1.

Clarke, K. R. & Gorley, R. N. (2001) PRIMER V5 User Manual/Tutorial. PRIMER E


Ltd. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place West Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.

Dixon, I., Douglas, M., Dowe, J. & Burrows, D. (2006) Tropical Rapid Appraisal for Riparian Condition:
Version 1 (for use in tropical savannas), River Management Technical Guideline No. 7, Land and
Water Australia, Canberra.

Ecological Management & Restoration Volume 7 Supplement 1 (June 2006). Linking Science and Practise:
Mapping Vegetation Condition. Ecological Society of Australia. Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 58


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
REFERENCES

English, S., Wilkinson, C. & Baker, V. (1997). Survey Manual for Tropical Marine Resources. Australian
Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.

ESCAVI. (2003) Australian Vegetation Attribute Manual: National Vegetation Information System, Version
6.0. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Gunn, R.H., Beattie, J.A., Riddler, A.M.H. & Lawrie, R.A. (1988) Australian Soil and Land Survey Handbook:
Guidelines for Conducting Surveys. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

Hill, M. O. (1979) TWINSPAN A FORTRAN Program for Arranging Multivariate


Data in an Ordered Two-way Table by Classification of the Individuals and Attributes. Ecology and
Systematics, Cornell University Ithaca, New York 14850.

Hnatiuk, R.J., Thackway, R. & Walker, J. (in press) Vegetation. In: Australian Soil and Land
Survey Field Handbook Third Edition (eds R.C. McDonald, R.F. Isbell, J.G. Speight, R.J. Hnatiuk, R.
Thackway, & J. Walker). CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Isbell, R.F. (2003) The Australian Soil Classification. CSIRO Publishing, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Victoria
3066, Australia.

IUCN. (2001) IUCN Red List Categories: Version 3.1. Prepared by the IUCN Species Survival
Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Kuchler, A.W. &. Zonneveld, I.S. (1988) Vegetation Mapping. Kluwer Academic Publishers,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Kuhnell, C.A., Goulevitch, B.M., Danaher, T.J. & Harris, D.P. (1998) Mapping
Woody Vegetation Cover over the State of Queensland using Landsat TM Imagery. Department of
th
Natural Resources, Queensland. In: Proceedings of the 9 Australasian Remote Sensing and
Photogrammetry Conference, Sydney, Australia, July 1998.

Laity, J.R. (1971). Land Unit Mapping In: turnoff, Volume 3, No. 1, pp. 47-51.

Lawrence, E. (1995) Henderson's Dictionary of Biological Terms 11th Edition. Longman Group
Limited.

Lewis, D. (2005) Stray Creek Catchment Vegetation Survey Northern Territory. Technical Report No.
75/2005. Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment, Palmerston, Northern Territory.

Lewis, D. (2005) Vegetation Survey Data Management in the Northern Territory.


NARGIS Conference Darwin 2005.

Lewis, D., Brocklehurst, P. & Napier, D. (in prep). Technical Specifications for Vegetation Core Attributes.
Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, Palmerston, Northern Territory.

Lynch, B. T. & Wilson, P. T. (1998) Land Systems of Arnhem Land. Technical Report No. R97/1. Department
of Lands Planning and Environment, Darwin, Northern Territory

McKenzie, N.J., Ringose Voase, A.J. & Grundy, M.J. (Editors) 2006. Guidelines for Conducting Surveys
(Blue Book).

McDonald, R.C., Isbell, R.F., Speight, J.G., Walker, J. & Hopkins, M.S. (1990). Australian Soil and Land
Survey Field Handbook. Second Edition. Canberra, Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation
Program, CSIRO Land and Water.

McDonald, R.C. & Isbell, R.F. (1990) Soil Profile. In: McDonald, R. C., Isbell, R. F.,
Speight, J. G., Walker, J. & Hopkins, M. S. Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook. Second
Edition (Yellow Book). Inkata Press, Melbourne, pp. 103- 152.

McDonald, R.C., Isbell, R.F. & Speight, J.G. (1990) Land Surface. In: McDonald, R. C., Isbell, R. F.,
Speight, J. G., Walker, J. & Hopkins, M. S. Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook. Second
Edition (Yellow Book). Inkata Press, Melbourne, pp. 87-102.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 59


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
REFERENCES

Meagher, D. (1991) The Macmillan Dictionary of The Australian Environment. The Macmillan
Company of Australia.

Meakin, C., Owen, G., Brocklehurst, P. & Lewis, D. (2001) NORFOR Mapping the
Forest Cover of the NT. Document 1 Field Methodology and FPC Indexing. Department of Lands,
Planning and Environment, PO Box 30, Palmerston Northern Territory 0831.

Mueller-Dombois, D. & Ellenberg, H. (1974) Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. John Wiley
and Sons, New York.

Munsell Soil Color Charts. (Munsell Color Co. Inc. Baltimore 18, Maryland 21218,
USA).

Neldner, V.J. (2003) Summary of Procedure for Creating Regional Ecosystem Maps as Defined
Under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection
Agency, Brisbane.

Neldner, V.J., Kirkwood, A.B. & Collyer, B.S. (in press). Optimum Time for Sampling Floristic Diversity in
Tropical Eucalypt Woodlands of Northern Queensland. In: Rangeland Journal (submitted).

Neldner V.J. & Butler D. W. (in prep) Investigating an Effective Plot Size for Sampling the
Floristic Diversity of Queensland Vegetation. Queensland Herbarium, Environmental Protection
Agency, Brisbane.

Neldner V.J., Crossley D.C. & Cofinas M. (1995) Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
to Determine the Adequacy of Sampling in Vegetation Surveys. In: Biological Conservation 73:1-17.

Neldner, V.J., Thompson, E.J., Bean, A.R. & Dillewaard, H.A. (1999) Methodology for Survey and Mapping
of Vegetation Communities and Regional Ecosystems in Queensland. Queensland Herbarium,
Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.

Parkes, D., Newell, G. & Cheal, D. (2003) Assessing the Quality of Native Vegetation: The Habitat Hectares
Approach. In: Ecological Management and Restoration 4, 29-38.

Sattler, P.S. & Williams, R.D. eds (1999) The Conservation Status of Queensland Bioregional
Ecosystems. Environment Protection Agency, Brisbane, Queensland.

Semeniuk, V. (1985) Development of Mangrove Habitats along Ria Shorelines in North and North
Western Tropical Australia. In: Vegetatio 60, 3-23.
th
Specht, R.L. (1970) Vegetation. In: The Australia Environment 4 Ed (Leeper, G.W. ed.) pp.44-67.
CSIRO and Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.

Specht, R.L. (1981) Major Vegetation Formations in Australia. In: Ecological Biography of Australia (Keast,
A. ed.). Junk The Netherlands.

Specht, R.L. (1981) Projective Foliage Cover and Standing Biomass. In: A.N. Gillison & D.J. Anderson
(eds.). Vegetation Classification in Australia, pp10-21. CSIRO, Canberra.

Specht, R.L., Roe, E.M. & Boughton, V.H. (1974) Conservation of Major Plant Communities in Australia and
Papua New Guinea. In: Aust. J. Bot. Suppl. No.7.

Specht, R.L. et al. (1995) Conservation Atlas of Plant Communities in Australia. Southern Cross University,
Lismore.

Specht, R.L, & Specht, A. (2002) Australian Plant Communities: Dynamics of Structure, Growth and
Biodiversity. Oxford University Press. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Speight, J. G. (1990) Landform. In: McDonald, R. C., Isbell, R. F.,


Speight, J. G., Walker, J. & Hopkins, M. S. Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook. Second
Edition (Yellow Book). Inkata Press, Melbourne, pp. 9-57.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 60


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
REFERENCES

Thackway, R. & Lesslie, R. (2005) Vegetation, States and Transitions (VAST) Framework:
Accounting for Vegetation Condition in the Australian Landscape. Bureau of Rural Sciences,
Canberra.

Thackway, R. & Lesslie, R. (2006) Reporting Vegetation Condition using the Vegetation, States and
Transitions (VAST) Framework. In: Ecological Restoration and Management: Mapping
Vegetation Condition. Vol. 7. Suppl. 1.

Thackway, R., Neldner, J. & Bolton, M. (in press) Vegetation. In. Australian Soil and Land Survey Handbook:
Guidelines for Conducting Surveys. (eds R.H. Gunn, J.A. Beattie, A.M.H. Riddler & R.A. Lawrie).
Inkata Press, Melbourne.

Walker, J. & Hopkins, M. S. (1990) Vegetation. In: McDonald, R. C., Isbell, R. F.,
Speight, J. G., Walker, J. & Hopkins, M. S. Australian Soil and Land Survey Field Handbook. Second
Edition (Yellow Book). Inkata Press, Melbourne, pp. 58-86.

Wilson, B.A., Brocklehurst, P.S., Clark, M.J. & Dickinson, K.J.M. (1990). Vegetation Survey of the Northern
Territory, Australia. Technical Report No. 49, Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory.

Zonneveld, I.S. 1988b. Landscape (Ecosystem) and Vegetation Maps, their Relation and Purpose.
In: A.W. Kuchler, I.S. Zonneveld, (editions) Vegetation mapping, pp. 481 486. Kluwer Academic
Publishers: 481-486. Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 61


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 1: Primary Vegetation Datasets

Mapped Area NVIS Data


Scale Survey Name % of NT
(approx ) km2 Detail
1:5000 Mt Todd Vegetation Survey 168 0.0125 NVIS5
Cape Arnhem Vegetation Survey 75 0.0056 NVIS5
Groote Island Mining Lease Vegetation Survey 170 0.0126 NVIS5
Casuarina Coastal Reserve 6 0.0004 NVIS5
North Island (Sir Edward Pellews Islands) 55 0.0041 ?
preliminary map
Popham Creek Mangrove Survey (Coburg 47 0.0035 NVIS5
Peninsular)
Rapid Creek Mangrove Survey 5 0.0004 NVIS5
Ludmilla Creek Mangrove Survey 1 0.0001 NVIS5
TOTAL 527 0.0391
1:25 000 Mangrove Survey of Darwin Harbour 215 0.0160 NVIS5
Mangrove Survey of Bynoe Harbour 226 0.0168 NVIS5
Mangrove Survey Lee Pt to Adelaide River. 1 450 0.1077 NVIS5
Elsey National Park Vegetation Survey 139 0.0103 NVIS4
Remnant Vegetation Survey of Darwin Region Stage 3 000 0.2228 NVIS4
1,2,& 3
Stray Creek Catchment Vegetation Survey 1 215 0.0903 NVIS6
TOTAL 6 245 0.4639
1:50 000 Arafura Swamp 890 0.0661 NVIS5
Katherine and Fergusson River Catchments Land 9 700 0.7205 NVIS5
Resource/Vegetation Survey
(in progress)
Bullo River Station Vegetation Survey 2 421 0.1798 NVIS6
(in progress)
TOTAL 13 011 0.9664
1:100 000 Cobourg Peninsula Land Resources 1 891 0.1405 NVIS3
Mary River Vegetation Survey 1 062 0.0789 NVIS5
Melaleuca Forest Survey 12 000 0.8914 NVIS5
Elsey Station Vegetation Survey 5 285 0.3926 NVIS5
Gregory National Park Vegetation Survey 13 500 1.0028 NVIS5
Lancewood Forest Survey of the Northern Territory 24 000 1.7828 NVIS5
Mt Bundy Vegetation Survey 1 150 0.0854 NVIS5
Limmen Bight Preliminary Vegetation Survey 13 510 1.0036 NA
Monsoon Vine Forest Survey 2 100 0.1560 NVIS3
Daly Basin NVIS5
TOTAL 74 498 5.5000
1:250 000 Tiwi Island Generalised Vegetation Map 7 400 0.5497 NVIS4
Kakadu National Park Stages 1 & 2 (Schodde) 19 000 1.4114 ?
TOTAL 26 400 2.0000
1:1 000 000 Vegetation Survey of the Northern Territory 1 346 200 100.0000 NVIS5
Northern Forest Mapping NORFOR 45 2700 33.6280 NVIS5
Mixed Scale NVIS Version 3: Pre-european & Extant datasets 1 346 200 100.0000 NVIS5
NOTE: This table doesnt include land unit or land system mapping.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 62


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 2: Overview of Vegetation Survey and Mapping Procedures


Survey and Planning
Stratification - based on either or a combination of: Data Collection
Remotely Sensed Data Independent
Environmental Maps Site-based vegetation survey
(aerial photographs and to sample and collect data
/or satellite imagery) (soil, geology, elevation,
climate) Floristic, Structural and
Environmental Data

Data Analysis

Preliminary Mapping Classification


Delineation of vegetation community polygons Based on either or a combination of:

Qualitative data Quantitative data


1. Image interpretation (i.e. 2. Correlations between analysis analysis
Aerial Photography independent
Interpretation - influenced environmental mapped
Manually assign Numerical analyses
by: attributes sharing the sites to vegetation varies with the type
same vegetation communities on the of data available
Landform element/pattern community- influenced by: basis of field data (binary or
Substrate (soil and/or using a variety of quantitative). May
quality and reliability of the
geology) floristic, structural be constrained to
independent environmental
mapped attributes and environmental woody /perennial
Photo-pattern/reflectance attributes plants only;
influenced by vegetation quantity and reliability of the informed by
and substrate site-based records structural and
Ecological knowledge environmental
attributes

Vegetation Polygons
Floristic Species
Assemblages

Final Mapping and Outputs


Vegetation Associations
Structure e.g. open forest
Map units may describe:
Spatial mix of vegetation communities Dominant floristics in each
in unique mapping areas (polygons) strata e.g. upper strata
Eucalyptus and Corymbia
Display labels and colours
(cartography) Landform - position in the
landscape e.g. Low Hills Description of
Environmental correlations e.g Vegetation
Landform: Low Hills Soils: Sandy Clay Environmental correlations Associations
Loam Geology: Granite e.g. Landform: Low Hills Vegetation
Soils: Sandy Clay Loam communities are
Validation of classification and
Geology: Alluvium
mapping described but not
mapped
Documentation of vegetation
communities and dataset/s (Survey
Report)

Source: Thackway et al. (in press) - adapted from Neldner et al. (1999)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 63


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 3: Cover and Structural Formation Comparisons for Common


Classification Systems

Scheme Cover Type Cover Classes


NVIS Foliage Cover 70 100 30 70 10 30 <10 0

Crown Cover > 80 50 80 20 50 5 20 <5

% Cover > 80 50 80 20 50 5 20 < 5

Walker & Crown Cover > 80 50 80 20 50 5 20 <5


Hopkins
Crown <0 0 0.25 0.25 1 13 >3
Separation
Ratio
Foliage Cover 70-100 30-70 10-30 <10 0

Specht * Foliage Cover 70 100 30 70 10 30 1 10 <1

Growth Form
Tree * Closed forest Open forest Woodland Open woodland Isolated trees

Tree mallee * Closed mallee Open mallee Mallee woodland Open mallee Isolated mallee
forest forest woodland trees
Shrub, cycad, grass-tree, Closed shrubland Shrubland Open shrubland Sparse shrubland Isolated shrubs
tree-fern *
Mallee shrub * Closed mallee Mallee Open mallee Sparse mallee Isolated mallee
shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubs
Heath shrub * Closed heathland Heathland Open heathland Sparse heathland Isolated heath
shrubs
Chenopod shrub * Closed chenopod Chenopod Open chenopod Sparse chenopod Isolated
shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubland chenopod
shrubs
Samphire shrub * Closed samphire Samphire Open samphire Sparse samphire Isolated
shrubland shrubland shrubland shrubland samphire
shrubland
Hummock grass * Closed hummock Hummock Open hummock Sparse hummock Isolated
grassland grassland grassland grassland hummock
grasses
Tussock grass * Closed tussock Tussock Open tussock Sparse tussock Sparse tussock
grassland grassland grassland grassland grasses
Other grass (inc. sod) * Closed grassland Grassland Open grassland Sparse grassland Isolated grasses

Sedge * Closed sedgeland Sedgeland Open sedgeland Sparse sedgeland Isolated sedges

Rush Closed rushland Rushland Open rushland Sparse rushland Isolated rushes

Forb * Closed forbland Forbland Open forbland Sparse forbland Isolated forbs

Fern Closed fernland Fernland Open fernland Sparse fernland Isolated ferns

Bryophyte Closed Bryophyteland Open Sparse Isolated


bryophyteland bryophyteland bryophyteland bryophytes
Lichen Closed lichenland Lichenland Open lichenland Sparse lichenland Isolated lichens

Vine Closed vineland Vineland Open vineland Sparse vineland Isolated


vinelands
Aquatic Closed aquatic Aquatic bed Open aquatic bed Sparse aquatic Isolated
bed bed aquatics
Seagrass Closed seagrass Seagrass bed Open seagrass Sparse seagrass Isolated
bed bed bed seagrasses
* Specht (1970) recognises only the broad growth form categories of Trees, Shrubs, Hummock Grasses, Graminoids, Sedges and Herbs.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 64


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 4: Height Class Comparison for Common Classification Systems

Height Walker & Hopkins NVIS Specht


Description
Trees, vines (U & M), palms (single stemmed) Trees*

Extremely Tall > 35.01 NA NA


Very Tall 20.01 - 35 NA NA
Tall 12.01 - 20 > 30 10 30 ** closed forest, open
Mid High 6.01 - 12 10 - 30 forest, woodland, open woodland
Low 3.01 - 6 < 10 5 -10
Dwarf 1.01 - 3 NA < 5 *** Very Low
Tree Mallee, Mallee Shrub Shrubs*
Extremely Tall 6.01 - 12 NA NA
Very Tall 3.01 - 6 NA NA
Tall 1.01 - 3 10 - 30 >2
Mid High 0.51 - 1 < 10 1 >2 ** closed shrubland
shrubland, open shrubland, sparse
shrubland
Low 0.26 0.5 <3 <2

Dwarf < 0.25 NA NA


Shrub, Heath Shrub, Chenopod Shrub, Ferns, Samphire Shrubs*
Shrub, Cycad, Tree-fern, Grass-tree, Palm (multi-
stemmed)
Extremely Tall 6.01 - 12 NA NA
Very tall 3.01 - 6 NA NA
Tall 1.01 - 3 >2 >2
Mid High 0.51 - 1 1-2 1 >2 ** closed shrubland,
shrubland, open shrubland, sparse
shrubland
Low 0.26 0.5 < 0.5 - 1 <2

Dwarf < 0.25 NA NA


Tussock Grass, Hummock Grass, Other Grass, Sedge, Rush, Forbs and Vine (G)
Extremely Tall 3.01 - 6 NA NA
Very Tall 1.01 - 3 NA NA
Tall 0.51 - 1 >2 NA
Mid High 0.26 0.5 0.5 - 1 NA
Low < 0.25 < 0.5 NA
Bryophyte, Lichen, Seagrass, Aquatic
Extremely Tall 0.51 - 1 NA NA
Tall 0.26 0.5 0.5 - 1 NA
Low < 0.25 < 0.5 NA

* Specht (1970) - a tree is defined as a woody plant usually with a single stem. A shrub is usually a woody plant with many stems arising
within 2m of the base.
** Specht (1970) - does not specify a height class against these structural formations (i.e. tall or mid high are not used to describe forests,
woodlands, or shrublands within these height ranges).
*** Specht (1970) - applies very low to this height category.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 65


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 5: Comparison of Classification Systems Codes and Descriptions

Structural NVIS Walker & Walker & Hopkins


NVIS Description
Formation Code Hopkins Code Description NVIS
Equivalence
TREE

T8d Tall closed forest VTCF Very tall closed forest T8d/T7d
Closed Forest T7d Mid closed forest TCF Tall closed forest T7d
T6d Low closed forest
T8c Tall open forest VTOF Very tall open forest T8c/T7c
Open Forest T7c Mid open forest TOF Tall open forest T7c
T6c Low open forest
T8i Tall woodland VTW Very tall woodland T8i/T7i
T7i Mid Woodland TW Tall woodland T7i
Woodland
T6i Low woodland MHW Mid high woodland T7i/T6i
LW Low woodland T6i
T8r Tall open woodland VTOW Very tall open woodland T8r/T7r
T7r Mid open woodland TOW Tall open woodland T7r
Open Woodland
T6r Low open woodland MHOW Mid high open woodland T7r/T6r
LOW Low open woodland T6r

SHRUB

S4c Tall shrubland VTS Very tall shrubland S4c


S3c Mid shrubland TS Tall shrubland S4c/S3c
Shrubland
S2c Low shrubland MHS Mid high shrubland S2c
S1c Low shrubland LS Low shrubland S1c
S4i Tall open shrubland VTOS Very tall open shrubland S4i
S3i Mid open shrubland TOS Tall open shrubland S4i/S3i
Open Shrubland
S2i Low open shrubland MHOS Mid high open shrubland S2i
S1i Low open shrubland LOS Low open shrubland S1i
S4r Tall sparse shrubland VTVS Very tall sparse S4r
shrubland
S3r Mid sparse shrubland TVS Tall sparse shrubland S4r/S3r
Sparse Shrubland
S2r Low sparse shrubland MHVS Mid high sparse S2r
shrubland
S1r Low sparse shrubland LVS Low sparse shrubland S1r

HUMMOCK GRASS

H3d Tall closed hummock TCHG Tall closed hummock H3d/H2d


grassland grassland
Closed Hummock H2d Mid closed hummock MHCHG Mid high closed H2d/H1d
Grassland grassland hummock grassland
H1d Low closed hummock LCHG Low closed hummock H1d
grassland grassland
H3c Tall hummock THG Tall hummock grassland H3c/H2c
grassland
Hummock H2c Mid hummock MHHG Mid high hummock H2c/H1c
Grassland grassland grassland
H1c Low hummock LHG Low hummock H1c
grassland grassland
H3i Tall open hummock TOHG Tall open hummock H3i/H2i
grassland grassland
Open Hummock H2i Mid open hummock MHOHG Mid high open hummock H2i/H1i
Grassland grassland grassland
H1i Low open hummock LOHG Low open hummock H1i
grassland grassland

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 66


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

TUSSOCK GRASS

G3d Tall closed tussock TCG Tall closed grassland G3d/G2d


grassland
Closed Tussock G2d Mid closed tussock MHCG Mid high closed G2d/G1d
Grassland grassland grassland
G1d Low closed tussock LCG Low closed grassland G1d
grassland
G3c Tall tussock grassland TG Tall grassland G3c/G2c
Tussock Grassland G2c Mid tussock grassland MHG Mid high grassland G2c/G1c
G1c Low tussock LG Low grassland G1c
grassland
G3i Tall open tussock TOG Tall open grassland G3i/G2i
grassland
Open Tussock G2i Mid open tussock MHOG Mid high open grassland G2i/G1i
Grassland grassland
G1i Low open tussock LOG Low open grassland G1i
grassland
FORB
F3c Tall forbland TF Tall forbland F2c
Forbland F2c Mid forbland MHF Mid high forbland F2c/F1c
F1c Low forbland LF Low forbland F1c
F3i Tall open forbland TOF Tall open forbland F2i
Open Forbland F2i Mid open forbland MHOF Mid high open forbland F2i/F1i
F1i Low open forbland LOF Low open forbland F1i
F3r Tall sparse forbland TVF Tall sparse forbland F2r
Sparse Forbland F2r Mid sparse forbland MHVF Mid high sparse forbland F2r/F1r
F1r Low sparse forbland LVF Low sparse forbland F1r

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 67


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 6: Vegetation Survey Report Formats

Example from: Darwin Harbour Mangrove Survey (Brocklehurst & Edmeades, 1995).

Map Unit 2 Rhizophora stylosa/Camptostemon schultzii closed-forest/open-forest (Tidal


creek forests)

Rhizophora stylosa, Camptostemon schultzii and Bruguiera parviflora are characteristic species on
the tidal creek bank and may be co-dominant or locally dominant. The Rhizophora stylosa is generally
lower, many trunked and often leaning in comparison to the main forest form (map unit 1). The
Camptostemon schultzii forms thickets on the lowest side of the creek bank (seaward fringe) with
many leaning across the water. Thickets of Aegiceras corniculatum to two metres and scattered low
Aegialitis annulata commonly occur on the seaward side of the mud banks and on creek shoals. The
fibrous matted nature of their roots tends to consolidate and firm the mud. This vegetation is generally
completely submerged by the higher tides. Scattered Avicennia marina and Xylocarpus mekongensis
are common and may be emergents. Bruguiera gymnorhiza may occur where freshwater input is
more regular. In the upper sections of the tidal creeks and tributaries, Avicennia marina may replace
Rhizophora stylosa and Camptostemon schultzii as the dominant species.

Other Species include (<5% frequency): Bruguiera exaristata, Ceriops decandra, C. tagal
and Excoecaria ovalis.

Area: 5965 ha

Tidal Level: Mean sea-level to Mean High Water Neaps

Stand Basal Area (Average): 25.8 m2

Mean stand diameter: 7.7cm diameter at breast height over bark (dbhob)

Top height: 13.92 m

Average Stocking: 7592 stems ha-1

Average biomass: 64 tonnes/ha-1 - 56% stand basal area

Geomorphic unit: Tidal creek, Tidal creek bank, Tidal creek shoal

Table. Mean Structural Formation


FPC
%Canopy Cover Canopy Canopy Height (m)
Stratum Growth Form
Median (range) Median Median (range)
(range)
U1 Upper tree 65 (2-100) 53 (1.6-90) 8.8 (5-12)
M1 Mid small tree 32 (20-75) - 3 (2-6)

G1 Ground small tree (regen) 4.5 (1.0-45) - 0.7 (0-1)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 68


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 6 (continued)

Distribution and habitat notes:


Found in all regions of the harbour. Creek bank vegetation is found between mean sea level and mean
high water neaps (4-6 metres tidal level - Port Darwin Datum). Tidal cover occurs at least once daily,
often twice. Slopes are steep to moderate (10-300) on the lower creek bank and less inclined where
vegetated (50). Tidal creeks are formed from marine erosion of the tidal flat by drainage incisions and
may contain small islands and very intricate drainage patterns. The habitat surface is maintained by
erosion. The creek shoal and exposed hummocky creek mud support vegetation at mean sea-level and
to mean low water neaps (3-4 metres tidal level Port Darwin Datum). Thickets of Aegiceras
corniculatum at these low tidal levels form dense root mats which consolidates mud. Soil salinity is
approximately 33-400/00 at mean sea-level and 4140/00 mid-zone (Semeniuk, 1985). Soils are generally
bioturbated, root structured mud where vegetation is present or homogeneous mud, bare of vegetation,
near the creek bottoms and creek shoals (generally at the tide level less than 3 metres - Port Darwin
Datum). The steep banks and bio-turbation ensure rapid drainage. Soils not waterlogged all the time.

Associated Vegetation types:


Occupies a similar tidal level to the Rhizophora forests (map unit 1) but occupies a different geomorphic
unit.
Pockets of Rhizophora forests (map unit 1) may occur within the tidal creek zone. A narrow fringe
(unmappable) of Sonneratia alba (map unit 8), along the tidal creeks is common. Similarly, due to the
mapping scale areas of transition forests (map unit 3) may be included in the tidal creek community. At
the creek mouths scattered Sonneratia alba and thickets of Aegiceras corniculatum and low Aegialitis
annulata are characteristic.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 69


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 6 (continued)

Example From: Stray Creek Catchment Vegetation Survey (Lewis, 2005).

Community 3

T7i (T7r, T6r)


Eucalyptus tetrodonta woodland with Heteropogon triticeus and annual Sorghum sp. tussock
grassland

Upper 1: Mixed woodland dominated by Eucalyptus tetrodonta (fq 100%). Associated species include
Erythrophleum chlorostachys (fq 50%) and Corymbia foelscheana (fq 33%).
Mid 1: Shrubs and trees, Erythrophleum chlorostachys (fq 50%), C. foelscheana
(fq 50%), Terminalia ferdinandiana (fq 39%) and Petalostigma pubescens (fq 33%) exist in the tall
sparse shrubland.
Ground 1: Frequent species occurring in the tussock grassland are Heteropogon triticeus (fq 89%),
annual Sorghum sp. (fq 72%), Sehima nervosum (fq 67%) and Chrysopogon latifolius (fq 61%).

Plate 3. Vegetation community 3 (site 120).

No. of sites: 18
13, 26, 33, 56, 64, 72, 83, 84, 120, 131, 137, 152, 159, 162, 170, 172, 199, 205

OTHER COMMON SPECIES:

Upper stratum (U1) Terminalia grandiflora (fq 28%), Corymbia polysciada (fq 11%), Eucalyptus
miniata (fq 6%), C. latifolia (fq 6%), E. patellaris (fq 3%), Buchanania obovata
(fq 3%), Erythroxylum ellipticum (fq 3%), Brachychiton diversifolius (fq 3%).

Mid stratum (M1) Planchonia careya (fq 33%), Terminalia grandiflora (fq 33%), Corymbia
polysciada (fq 28%), Eucalyptus tetrodonta (fq 28%), Brachychiton megaphyllus (fq 22%), Grevillea
decurrens (fq 17%), E. tectifica (fq 17%), Acacia lamprocarpa (fq 11%), B. diversifolia (fq 11%),
Buchanania obovata (fq 11%), Hakea arborescens (fq 11%), Persoonia falcata (fq 11%), T.
canescens (fq 11%), A. mimula (fq 6%), A. oncinocarpa (fq 6%), Ampelocissus frutescens (fq 6%),
Bridelia tomentosa (fq 6%), Cayratia trifolia (fq 6%), Cochlospermum fraseri (fq 6%), Acacia
douglasica (fq 6%), Corymbia latifolia (fq 6%), Gardenia schwarzii (fq 6%), Livistona humilis (fq 6%),
Bauhinia cunninghamii (fq 6%), Owenia vernicosa (fq 6%), Premna acuminata (fq 6%), Stenocarpus
acacioides (fq 6%), Tinospora smilacina (fq 6%).

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 70


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 6 (continued)

Ground stratum (G1) Erythrophleum chlorostachys (fq 61%), Brachychiton megaphyllus


(fq 56%), Corymbia foelscheana (fq 56%), Grewia retusifolia (fq 50%), Eucalyptus tetrodonta (44%),
Evolvulus alsinoides (fq 44%), Buchanania obovata (fq 39%), Pachynema dilatatum (fq 39%),
Sebastiania chamaelea (fq 39%), Sorghum plumosum (fq 39%), Thaumastochloa major (39%),
Yakirra majuscula (39%), Alloteropsis semialata (fq 33%), Cartonema spicatum (fq 33%),
Chrysopogon fallax (fq 28%), Eriachne obtusa (fq 28%), Mnesithea formosa (fq 28%), Murdannia
graminea (fq 28%), Petalostigma quadriloculare (fq 28%), Setaria apiculata (fq 28%), Terminalia
grandiflora (fq 28%), Uraria lagopodioides (fq 28%), Ampelocissus frutescens (fq 22%), Aristida
holathera (fq 22%), Digitaria gibbosa (fq 22%), Distichostemon hispidulus (fq 22%), E. avenacea (fq
22%), Flemingia trifoliastrum (fq 22%), Grevillea mimosoides (fq 22%), Indigofera linifolia
(fq 22%), Schizachyrium fragile (fq 22%), Tacca leontopetaloides (fq 22%), Triodia bitextura(fq 22%),
Vigna lanceolata (fq 22%), Whiteochloa semitonsa (fq 22%).

LANDFORM: Dominant community on plains and rises.

SOILS: Kandosols.

DRAINAGE: Well drained.

Table 5. Community 3 structural summary.

Strata Modal Growthform Mean Cover % Mean height (m) NVIS Code

Upper U1 Tree 25.4 (5-40) 14.8 (11.5-17.5) T7i

Mid M1 Shrub 3.6 (2-5.5) 3.6 (1.5-6.1) S4r

Ground G1 Tussock Grass 50.1 (15-80) 0.7 (0.1-1.4) G2c

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 71


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 7: Metadata Attributes

Attribute Description Example


State State or Territory NT
Custodian Government/Private Agency who has Biodiversity Conservation: Darwin (DIPE)
ownership of the data
Official Contact Custodial contact person john.woinarski@nt.gov.au
08 8944 8451
Date Beginning Year of commencement of survey -

Date End Year of Finish of survey -

Compilation Site vegetation data is present and 1995


Date correct as of what year
Vegetation Title of Survey Mitchell Grasslands Survey
Survey Name
Site Purpose Site data was collected for what Flora Survey
specific purpose (eg. vegetation
mapping, flora survey)
Number of Sites Approximate number of sites for the 107
particular survey
Site Detail The amount of information recorded at Species cover and height for the dominant
a site stratum
Geo-referenced Are the sites geo-referenced Yes

Spatial Accuracy Radius of error (eg. 200 metres). An 30 meters


estimate of the horizontal accuracy of
the site in the real world
Data Storage How is the data stored (eg. paper, Digital
digital)
Database Database manager of the particular greg.connors@nt.gov.au
Manager organisation holding the data 08 8944 8456
Historical Person who undertook the survey or alaric.fisher@nt.gov.au
Contact who is familiar with the data 08 8944 8454
Geographical List of bio regions (abbreviations as Top End wide - black soil plains
Extent per IBRA) or locality
Quality An estimate of the utility of the data Good
Transfer Ease of data transfer Requires work
Digital Data If sites are digital what software do USER DATABASE/Foxpro-Access
Storage they reside in
COMMENTS Any pertinent comments Standard Biodiversity Conservation Vegetation
Proforma:
trees/shrubs by BA and BA size class, canopy
ht/cover, total ground layer % cover, ground
species by cover, full/partial species lists, stratum
cover/ht, however not all species linked directly to
strata (mid)
Digital Mapping Does digital polygon mapping exists - No
Exists see metadata link (eg. ANZLIC
number)
NVIS Level Estimate of data detail in relation to NVIS IV Sub-Formation
the NVIS Information Hierarchy

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 72


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 8: Preliminary NT Vegetation Condition Indicators for Forests and


Woodlands
Indicator Measure Score Method
SITE
Trees 30
Tree canopy cover Canopy cover and health 4 Line transect1
Dead standing basal area 5 Basal wedge quadrat2
Large tree count & hollows No of trees/ha >40 dbh 8
Regeneration count No of trees/ha >1.5m ht and < 5 5 Quadrat 100x50 metres either
canopy species dbhob side of line transect
Proportion 3
Medium tree diversity/ or No of diameter classes + 5 Basal wedge quadrat2
cohorts/ diameter class distribution within
distribution
Shrubs 8 Line transect1
Broad leaved cover-shrubs %cover 5
only below 2 metres
Broad leaved richness No of species 3
Grasses 15 Line transect1
Total Grass Cover % cover 6
Sorghum Cover as a % of % cover 6
total grass
Species richness No of species 3
Perennial Herbs 7 Line transect1
Perennial Cover % cover 4
Perennial Richness No. of species 3
Weeds 10 Line transect1
Weed cover % cover 10
Fallen woody material 10 Line transect1
logs count 5
Litter * % cover 5
LANDSCAPE 20 GIS
Fire Diversity CV of fire history in 4km radius 5 Using ancillary spatial data sets
Fire history Fire history at site 5 such as fire frequency. Not
Land clearing % native veg within 4km radius 5 measured in the field
Vegetation type diversity* No. of veg types or cover types 5
in 4km radius
* possible indicator
line transect1 - one to three 100 metre line transects, measured at 1 metre intervals, categories below
Overstorey
US Green leaf or branch of shrub
GL Green leaf of canopy tree
GT Green leaf or branch of tree not canopy tree
CT Sky within periphery of canopy crown or branch
S Sky
Understorey
TrLit Tree litter/organic litter, including leaves, twigs, branches <10cm diameter
GrLit Annual Grass or litter of-if annual Sorghum mark with S
PGrLit Perennial Grass or litter of
BA Bare soil or rock
GS Broad leafed Shrub or plant not Tree
P Palm or Cycad
H Perennial herbs and forbs
TR Tree regeneration on ground
W Weed Number of logs along transect is tallied
basal wedge quadrat2 basal sweep at 25 and 75 metres along transect
NOTE: These are preliminary vegetation condition indicators for forests and woodlands in the NT and are subject to change.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 73


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 9: Example of Eucalyptus Open Forest Synthetic Benchmark

Conceptual Diagram: perceives the effect of fire on forest in the NT. In terms of condition, Stage 4 is where the majority of the forest in the Top End
currently is. The best practical outcome of management would be Stage 2 or 3. Stage 1 is not practical for broad areas of the NT. Indicators should
be developed around Stage 2 or 3. A diameter class distribution diagram for each type is to be developed.

Mature uneven aged forest Mature /senescing even


aged forest
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5

Long undisturbed mature forest Relatively undisturbed Relatively undisturbed Frequently disturbed forest Frequently disturbed forest
20+ years 5-20 years unburnt 3-5 years unburnt Burnt annually or every two
years
Thick shrubby/tree mid-layer Trees and shrubs in mid-layer Some trees and shrubs in mid- Mid-layer +/- absent Mid-layer absent
layer
Few grasses or herbs. Thick litter Low shrubs, grasses and herbs Low shrubs, grasses and herbs Grasses and herbs Grasses and herbs
layer in ground-layer
VAST State 1 VAST State 1 VAST State 2 VAST State 2 VAST State ?

All growth stages Juvenile growth stage, small trees Some juvenile growth stages and Juvenile growth stage, smaller Juvenile growth stage,
present. Regeneration present small trees. Regeneration trees absent. Regeneration smaller trees absent.
present present Canopy trees senescing.
Regeneration present
Occurrence of this type in the NT Restricted to fire protected areas, Areas under fire management, This represents the most Areas of this in NT. The
very restricted. Urban/rural areas managed areas. areas that have missed more common type in NT. The current current fire regimes will lead
frequent fires for some reason. trajectory is to this
This an un-natural state Difficult to manage for this over This is probably what would be
whole NT under present desired as a result of
conditions management

Stand structure types for Eucalyptus open forests

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 74


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 10: Definitive Vegetation Types Database Attributes - Example

FIELD EXAMPLE
ID Number Example 2.
Formation *L Other Forests and Woodlands.
Common Name Grevillea pteridifolia, Banksia dentata low open woodland with Eriachne grassland
understorey.
Characteristic Grevillea pteridifolia, Banksia dentata, Melaleuca viridiflora.
Species
Characteristic Sp. Quantitative and qualitative estimate.
Qualifiers
Authorities Group 5e: Brocklehurst (1998): Group 7: Griffiths et al. (1997); Group 7: Wilson &
Fensham (1994); *Unit 19 Brocklehurst & Cowie (1992); *Unit 51a Wilson et al.
(1990); Mixed Shrubland: Schodde et al. (1987); Grevillea Woodland: Wilson &
Bowman (1987); Grevillea Low Open Woodland: Wood & Sivertsen (1984); Banksia
Woodland: Henshall & Mitchell (1976); Mixed Scrub: Story (1969 & 1976);
Lophostemon-Grevillea-Banksia Low Woodland: Perry (1970); Lophostemon-
Grevillea-Banksia Association: Specht (1958b); Lophostemon-Grevillea-Banksia Low
Woodland: Christian & Stewart (1953).
Authority Combination of expert opinion and quantitative data.
Qualifiers
Adequacy of Plot Unknown.
Sampling*L
InterState
Equivalent(s)
Confidence Medium.
Level?*L
NVIS Level of Association V.
Classification*L
Rainforest Sub- NA.
formation
N.F.I. Forest Type*L
Structural Low Open Woodland (r ).
Formation
Dominant Strata*L
Height Class Low (6).
Dominant Strata*L
Vegetation The upper layer is generally a low open woodland to tall shrubland dominated by
Description Banksia dentata (50%) and Grevillea pteridifolia (59%) and smaller shrubs such as
Jacksonia dilatata (36%), Verticordia cunninghamii (24%), and Acacia spp. Emergent
tree species such as Corymbia polycarpa, (23%), C. ptychocarpa (14%), Melaleuca
viridiflora (41%), Melaleuca nervosa (32%) and Lophostemon lactifluus (13%) are
common. The ground layer is dominated by a mixture of mid height grasses, mainly
Eriachne spp., sedges and forbs.
This community occurs from north of Katherine but is generally more common in
coastal and sub coastal regions from the Victoria Highway in the west, to south of the
Roper River in the east. It typically occurs on poorly drained areas with coarse sandy
soils.
Vegetation Data Canopy layer/upper: (U1)
Ht. 9.9 (7-13)m; CC. 15 (8-15)%
Dominant species (frequency %): Grevillea pteridifolia (59%), Banksia dentata (50%),
Melaleuca viridiflora (41%), Melaleuca nervosa (32%), Livistona humilis, Pandanus
spiralis (27%), Corymbia polycarpa, Eucalyptus tetrodonta (23%), C. ptychocarpa,
Syzygium eucalyptoides ssp. bleeseri (14%), Lophostemon lactifluus (13%),
Xanthostemon paradoxus (< 10%).
Middle layer: U2 or M1

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 75


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

Ht. 4 (2-6)m; CC. 17 (5-28) %


Dominant species (frequency %): Melaleuca viridiflora, Grevillea pteridifolia,
Jacksonia dilatata (36%), Livistona humilis, Asteromyrtus symphyocarpa (27%),
Verticordia cunninghamii, (24%), Acacia difficilis, A. oncinocarpa, C. ptychocarpa
(18%), A. torulosa, E. tetrodonta, Persoonia falcata (13%), Lophostemon lactifluus,
Grevillea heliosperma, Choriceras tricorne (< 10%).
Lower layer: G1
Ht. 1m; CC. 72 %
Dominant species (frequency %): Eriachne triseta (70%), Xyris complanata (45%),
Eriachne burkittii, Dapsilanthus spathaceus (40%), Eriachne avenacea, Fimbristylis
spp., Grevillea pteridifolia (30%), Melaleuca nervosa, Sorghum intrans,
Schizachyrium fragile, Germainia grandiflora, Drosera petiolaris, Cartonema
spicatum (25%), Arthrostylis aphylla (15%).
Other reported species: Calytrix exstipulata, C. brownii, Hibbertia dealbata, Owenia
vernicosa, Petalostigma pubescens, Schoenus sparteus, Syzygium suborbiculare.
Basal Area: Unknown
Comments: Quantitative data from Wilson et al. (1990), Brocklehurst & Cowie (1992).
Map Sources Mapped at 1:1000 000 by Wilson et al. (1990). Preliminary map at 1:50 000 of the
treeless communities on Melville Island is contained in Wilson & Fensham (1994).
NVIS Map Code
IBRA *L Victoria Bonaparte, Darwin Coastal, Daly Basin, Pine Creek, Tiwi-Coburg, Arnhem
(Commonwealth Coast, Arnhem Plateau, Central Arnhem, Gull Fall and Uplands, Gulf Coastal.
Bioregion)
NT sub- Victoria Bonaparte VB1, VB2 , VB3, Darwin Coastal, Daly Basin, Pine Creek, Tiwi-
bioregions*L Coburg P1, P2, Arnhem Coast P1, P2, P3, P4, Arnhem Plateau P1, P2, Central
Arnhem P1, P2, Gulf Fall and Uplands P1, P2, Gulf Coastal, P1.
Botanical Darwin and Gulf Region, Victoria River District.
Division*L (NT)
River Catchments*L Victoria, Fitzmaurice, Moyle, Daly, Finniss, Adelaide, Mary, Wildman, South Alligator,
East Alligator, Goomadeer, Liverpool, Blythe, Goyder, Buckingham, Koolatong,
Walker, Roper, Towns, Limmen Bight, McCarthur, Robinson Rivers.
Substrate*L Not restricted to any particular substrate.
(W&H 1990)
Soil Texture*L Sands.
(W&H 1990)
Landform PLA, PLT, RIS.
Patterns*L
Landform DDE, STC, VLF.
Elements*L
Main Land Use*L 1. Conservation and Natural Resources, 2. Production from relatively natural
environments.
Impacts Euro Minimal to date.
Settlement
Pre-European Unknown but assumed to be similar to extent as of 2003.
Extent
Pre-European Subjective judgement.
Qualifiers
Pre-European
Information
Current Extent Unknown.
Current Extent
Qualifiers*L
Current Extent Mapped as part of map unit 51 mosaic (5 277 km2) in Wilson et al. (1990).
Information
Percent Remaining > 70.
Degree of Naturally highly fragmented occurring as patches in the landscape.
Fragmentation
Average Condition
Threatening Modified fire regime.
Process
Threatening *L
Process List

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 76


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

Disturbance, Generally adjoins Eucalyptus or Melaleuca open forests and woodlands.


Succession,
adjoining veg.
Fire Regime Probably patch burnt by Aboriginal groups prior to European settlement.
Carbon Biomass
Conservation Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, Garig Gunak Barlu National Park,
Reserves-Major*L Djukbinj National Park, Nitmiluk National Park.
Area in Major Estimated at < 30%.
Reserves
No of Reps in
Reserves
Explanation of
Reserved Areas
Minor Reserves-
Protected areas or
other reserve
categories
Area in Minor
reserves
Protected Pre-Euro 30%.
Extent
Protected Current 30%.
Extent

Common pre-E NA.


(>10000 ha)
Restricted pre-E NA.
(1000-10000 ha)
Rare pre-E (<1000 NA.
ha)
Key Sites for NA.
Protection
Threat Category L* Near Threatened (NT).
Threat Criteria L* 4.
Threat Reserve NT/4.
Code L*
Planning Control
Planning
Explanation
Under Legislation
Recovery Plan Yes
Recovery Plan No
References L* Brocklehurst, P. (1998) Vegetation Communities: The History and Natural
Resources of the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory. Parks and Wildlife Commission
of the Northern Territory;
Griffiths, A.D., Woinarski, J.C.Z., Armstrong, M.D., Cowie, I.D., Dunlop, C.R. &
Horner, P.G. (1997) Biological Survey of Litchfield National Park. Technical
Report No. 62. Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory;
Wilson, B.A. & Fensham, R.J. (1994) A Comparison of Classification Systems for
the Conservation of Sparsely Wooded Plains on Melville Island, Northern
Australia. In: Australian Geographer 25 (1): 18-31;
Brocklehurst, P. & Cowie, I. (1992) A Vegetation and Flora Survey of the Gemco
Mining Lease Area on Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory. Parks and Wildlife
Commission of the Northern Territory;
Wilson, B.A., Brocklehurst, P.S., Clark, M.J. & Dickinson, K.J.M. (1990)
Vegetation Survey of the Northern Territory, Australia. Technical Report No. 49
pp 222. Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory Australia;
Schodde, R., Hedley, A.B., Mason, I.J. & Matensz, P.N. (1987) Vegetation
Habitats in Kakadu National Park, Alligator River Region, N.T. Australia. Unpub.
Report presented for ANPWS by Division of Wildlife and Rangelands Research,
CSIRO, Canberra;

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 77


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

Wilson, B.A. & Bowman, D.M.J.S. (1987) Fire, Storm, Flood and Drought: The
Vegetation Ecology of Howard Peninsula, Northern Territory, Australia. In: Aust.
J. Ecol. 12: 165-174;
Wood, B.G. & Sivertsen, D. (1984) The Lands Systems and Erosion on Part of
Humbert River Station. Technical Report No. 3. Land Conservation Unit,
Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission, Darwin;
Henshall, T.S. & Mitchell, A.S. (1976) Vegetation Survey of the Keep River Study
Area. NT. Bot. Bull. 2: 15-26. Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission,
Darwin;

Story, R. (1976) Vegetation of the Alligator Rivers Area: Lands of the Alligator
Rivers Area, Northern Territory. Land. Res. Ser. No. 38: pp 89-111, CSIRO,
Melbourne;
Story, R. (1969) Vegetation of the Adelaide-Alligator Area, Northern Territory.
Land. Res. Ser. No. 25: pp 114-130. CSIRO, Melbourne;
Perry, R.A. (1970) Vegetation of the Ord-Victoria Area and Pasture Lands of the
Ord-Victoria Area: Lands of the Ord-Victoria Area, WA & NT. Land Res. Ser. No
28: pp 104-125. CSIRO, Canberra;
Specht, R.L. (1958b) The Climate, Geology, Soils and Plant Ecology of the
Northern Portion of Arnhem Land. In: Botany and Plant Ecology (eds R.L. Specht
& C.P. Mountford). Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to
Arnhem Land Vol. 3. pp 333-414. Melbourne University Press;
Christian, C.S. & Stewart, G.A. (1953) General Report on Survey of Katherine-
Darwin Region 1946. Land Res. Ser. No. 1, CSIRO, Melbourne.

Source: Brocklehurst and Gibbons (2003)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 78


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 11: IUCN Red List Categories

IUCN Category Criteria

Extinct A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual
(EX) has died. A taxon is presumed extinct when exhaustive surveys in known
and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal, annual),
throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual. Surveys
should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxons life cycle and life form.

Extinct in the Wild A taxon is Extinct in the Wild when it is known only to survive in cultivation, in
(EW) captivity or as a naturalised population (or populations) well outside the past
range. A taxon is presumed Extinct in the Wild when exhaustive surveys in
known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate times (diurnal, seasonal,
annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual.
Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxons life cycle and
life form.

Critically A taxon is Critically Endangered when the best available evidence indicates
Endangered that it meets any of the criteria A to E for Critically Endangered, and it is
(CR) therefore considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the
wild.

Endangered A taxon is Endangered when the best available evidence indicates that it
(EN) meets any of the criteria A to E for Endangered, and it is therefore
considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Vulnerable A taxon is vulnerable when the best available evidence indicates that it
(V) meets any of the criteria A to E for Vulnerable, and it is therefore considered
to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Near Threatened A taxon is Near Threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria
(NT) but does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable
now, but is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened
category in the near future.

Least Concern A taxon is Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria and
(LC) does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near
Threatened. Widespread and abundant data are included in this category.

Data Deficient A taxon is Data Deficient when there is inadequate information to make a
(DD) direct, or indirect assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution
and/or population status. A taxon in this category may be well studied, and its
biology well known, but appropriate data on abundance and/or distribution
are lacking. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat. Listing of
taxa in this category indicates that more information is required and
acknowledges the possibility that future research will show that threatened
classification is appropriate. It is important to make positive use of whatever
data are available. In many cases great care should be exercised in choosing
between DD and threatened status. If the range of taxon is suspected to be
relatively circumscribed, and a considerable period of time has elapsed since
the last record of the taxon, threatened status may well be justified.

Not Evaluated A taxon is Not Evaluated when it has not yet been evaluated against the
(NE) criteria.

Source: IUCN (2001)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 79


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 12: Directions for the Collection of NT Weeds

PLEASE FILL IN THE WEED DATA COLLECTION SHEET USING THE BLUE TEXT

What is the
SIZE_DIA_M Example of a
DIAMETER of the SIZE weed infestation area.
weed infestation area
in metres? 20
50 Stand in the centre, if
Select one of these Diameter possible, to record the
sizes. 100 20m GPS location

Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5


DENS_CAT 1% >1 - 10% >10 - 50% >50%

Select one of these


Density Categories.

This describes the


quantity of plants as
a percentage of the
total area (not the
canopy cover) very small small medium large

2 3 4 5

STAGE OF GROWTH % Seedlings + % Juveniles + % Adults = 100% plants in the site

25

0 50 75 100

Have the plants seeded? SOIL VEG


Is there evidence of soil disturbance? SEEDED DIST DIST
(eg. from cattle, feral animals, machinery) Yes Yes Yes
Is there evidence of vegetation disturbance? No No No
(eg. From fire, flood damage, machinery)

TREATED TREAT_TYPE TREAT_CHEM COMMENTS (not essential, can be left blank)

Yes Basal Bark 2-4D 1. Aerial spray work is required


No Biological Control Access 2. Contact Weeds Officer for advice
Cut Stump Brush-off 3. Difficult site to access
Foliar Spray Glyphosate 4. Follow-up inspection required
Hand Pull Graslan 5. First known recording of species in
Ground Application Starane catchment
Mechanical 6. Mechanical work is required
7. No chemical available, control required
Weed Management Branch, 9 December, 2006 8. No control work possible
Dept Natural Resources, Environment and The Arts 9. URGENT Follow-up control required

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 80


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 13: NT Weeds Data Collection Sheet


Name: Project Name: Date:

Group: Project No: Purpose: Amount chemical:

SET YOUR GPS TO WGS84 20, 0, 25, 50, 75, 100


Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
AS DECIMAL DEGREES COMMON NAME 50, 2,3,4,5 (3 columns add up See list See list See list
No No No No No
(d.ddddo) 100 to 100%)

LAT_G94 LONG_G94 WEED_NAME


SIZE DENS % % % TREAT TREAT_TYPE TREAT_CHEM
TREAT
SEED
SOIL VEG
COMMENTS
DIA_M CAT S J A MON DIST DIST

-14.553456 132.45322 Bellyache Bush 20 5 25 25 50 Yes Foliar Spray Brush-off Yes No No Yes Follow-up control work needed

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 81


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 14: Landform Element and Pattern Codes and Descriptions

LANDFORM ELEMENT LANDFORM PATTERN


Code Type Code Type
BAN Bank (stream bank) ALF Alluvial fan
BAR Bar (stream bar ALP* Alluvial plain
BEA Beach ANA Anastomotic plain
BRI* Beach Ridge BAD Badlands
BEN Bench BAR Bar plain
BER Berm BEA Beach ridge plain
BOU Blow-out CAL Caldera
BRK Breakaway channel CHE Chenier plain
CBE Channel bench COR Coral reef
CIR Cirque COV Covered plain
CLI Cliff DEL Delta
CFS Cliff-foot slope DUN Dunefield
CON Cone (volcanic) ESC* Escarpment
CRA Crater FLO* Floodplain
CUT Cut face HIL* Hills
COS Cut-over surface KAR Karst
DAM Dam LAC Lacustrine plain
DOL Doline LAV Lava plain
DDE* Drainage depression LON Longitudinal dunefield
DUN* Dune LOW* Low hills
DUC Dunecrest MAD Made land
DUS Duneslope MAR Marine plain
EMB Embankment MEA Meander plain
EST* Estuary MET Meteor crater
FAN Fan MOU Mountains
FIL Fill-top PAR Parabolic dunefield
FLD Flood-out PED Pediment
FOO Footslope PEP Pediplain
FOR* Foredune PNP Peneplain
GUL Gully PLA* Plain
HCR* Hillcrest PLT* Plateau
HSL* Hillslope PLY Playa plain
ITF Intertidal flat RIS* Rises
LAG Lagoon SAN* Sand plain
LAK Lake SHF Sheet-flood fan
LDS Landslide STA Stagnant alluvial plain
LEV* Levee TER Terrace (alluvial)
LUN Lunette TEL Terraced land (alluvial)
MAA Maar TID* Tidal flat
MOU Mound VOL Volcano
OXB* Ox-bow
PED Pediment
PIT Pit
PLA* Plain
PLY Playa
PST* Prior stream
Source: Speight (1990)
* Commonly described across the NT

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 82


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 14 (continued)

LANDFORM ELEMENT CONT..


Code Type
REF Reef flat
RFL Rock flat
RPL Rock platform
SCD Scald
SCA* Scarp
SFS Scarp-foot slope
SCR Scroll
SRP Scroll plain
STB* Stream bed
STC* Stream channel
SUS Summit surface
STF* Supratidal flat
SWL* Swale
SWP* Swamp
TAL Talus
TEF Terrace flat
TEP Terrace plain
TDC* Tidal creek
TDF* Tidal flat
TOR Tor
TRE Trench
TUM Tumulus
VLF Valley flat
Source: Speight (1990)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 83


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 15: Common Soil Orders in the NT

Soil Order Description


Kandosols Massive and earthy (formerly red, yellow & brown earths). Throughout the
NT, widespread across the Top End, Sturt Plateau, Tennant Creek regions
and Central Australia.

Rudosols Shallow soils or those with minimal soil development. Includes very
shallow rocky and gravely soils across rugged terrain such as the Arnhem
Plateau and also the sands of the Simpson Desert.

Tenosols Weakly developed or sandy soils. Commonly shallow (slightly more


developed than Rudosols), although they can include the deep sand dunes
of beach ridges, granitic soils and sand dunes of deserts. Soils show some
degree of soil profile organisation.

Hydrosols Seasonally wet soils. Throughout the NT on floodplains, swamps, drainage


lines but more common in higher rainfall areas. Includes mangrove and
salt marsh environments.

Chromosols Soils with an abrupt increase in clay content below the top soil. Restricted
to small occurrences across plains and relict alluvial plains.

Dermosols Soils with highly developed structural characteristics. Common across the
Tindal area and also the Daly River Basin.

Calcarosols Soils with calcium carbonate often formed on limestone. Restricted to small
pockets in Central Australia, Victoria River District including Gregory
National Park and Katherine and Mataranka Districts.

Ferrosols Iron rich soils generally formed on basalt. Restricted to volcanic


landscapes of the Victoria River District and to a smaller extent the Roper
River Catchment.

Vertosols Cracking clay soils which may or may not be poorly drained. Common
across coastal floodplains of the Top End, the Barkly Tableland and alluvial
plains of the Victoria River District.

NOTE: Not to be used for classification purposes.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 84


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 16: Field Data Proforma - Habitat Sheet

VEGETATION SITE SHEET: Habitat Information Date: Site#:


Survey:
Observers:
Comments:

NVIS NVIS Structural Classification & Description:


Code:

Site Type: Dimensions:


Estimated Patch Size: <.04Ha / 0.04Ha - 1Ha / 1Ha - 5Ha / 5Ha - 100Ha / >100Ha
Location:

MGA Zone: 52 53 Easting: Northing:


Lat: Long:
Datum: Geo Source: GPS / Map / AP
Geo Precision (m): Elevation Source: Map / GPS / DEM
Elevation (m ASL): Slope:

Film# Photo# Aspect Description Dig#

Site Disturbance % Frequency Nearest Water Map Unit/Community ID


None Current disturbance Swamp
Limited Clearing Single recent 1-10yrs spring
Extensive clearing Few recent 1-10yrs permenant ck
Cultivation disturbs all >10yrs ephemeral ck
Gravel pit disturbs <10yrs permenant pool
Mining other ephemeral pool
Exotic weeds tidal Climate
Salinity Site Drainage bore 1 = Dry,plant stress
Flood 2 = Dry, plants not
1 = Well to imperfect dam
stressed
Pig rooting 3 = Recent rain, no impact
2 = Imperfect
on veg
Die-back 4 = Recent rain, veg
3 = Poor
Distance km response
Other 4 = Very Poor 5 = Wet

Grazing Grazing Type Fire Frequency Fire Intensity


Nil Cattle Nil No damage
minor impact scars on some
Light Horses < 1 yr trees/shrubs
Native minor impact scars on most
Moderate Herbivore 1 -2 yrs trees/shrubs
Heavy Pigs 2 - 5 yrs some trees/shrubs killed
Other > 5 yrs most trees/shrubs killed
pebbles <.6cm % Soil depth: Munsell Colour: DRY Munsell Colour: MOIST
gravel 0.6 - 2cm % 1 = 0.0m
stones 2 - 6 cm % 2 = <0.25m
sm rocks 6 - 20cm % 3 = 0.25 - 1.0m Surface Texture: Surface pH:
rocks 20 - 60cm % 4 = > 1.0m
lge rocks 60cm -2m % Geology Element Pattern
boulders >2m %
Lithology 1: prop'n rock: Av size class: Specimen: Y / N
Lithology 2: prop'n rock: Av size class: Specimen: Y / N

Status
Microrelief % Cover Number Erosion % Site Notes
(A,P,S)
Zero sCald
Gilgai Sheet
Melonhole Rill
Debil debil Gully
sWamp hummock Tunnel
Termite beds streamBank
Veg root mounds Mass movem.
Other Other

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 85


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 16 (continued)

VEGETATION SITE SHEET: Habitat Information (cont'd)


Stratum T1 T2 S1 S2 G1 G2 other:
Survey:

% Cover
Collector(s):

Ht range (m)

Date:
Av Ht (m)

Crown Density:
CSR (if used)

% cover in upper and mid generally canopy cover: Cover in ground generally percentage cover.(heights measured, cover an estimate
or use CSR)

% Litter: % Bare: % Crust:

%Veg (Ground layer): % Exposed rocks: % Gravel:

Growth Form Table Other Growth forms


Code Average height Cover % Code Av Hgt Cover %
Tree >10m T Y Mallee shrub
Tree 2-10m T Z Heath shrub
Tree < 2m T U Samphire shrub
Tree Mallee M R Rush
Palm P D Tree fern
Shrub >2m S B Bryophyte
Shrub <2m S E Lichen
Chenopod C K Epiphyte
Cycads A X Grass tree (Xanth.)
Tussock grass G J Sea grass
Hummock grass H
Sedge V
Forb F
Vine L
Fern E
Aquatic Q

Other

Additional Comments:

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 86


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 17: Field Data Proforma - Flora Sheet

Survey Name: Date: Site#:


Classification Dominant Stratum =
VEGETATION SITE SHEET: FLORISTICS

Coll: tic ( ) if plant collected Basal area generally occurs across stratum: measure on species basis at dbh 1.3m ht
Heights (m) %Cover BA Fac:
Col: Range Ave T1 T2 S1 S2 G1 G2 BA L BA D Sum
Species
1

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28
Woody species outside site

Note: If < 1% then abc, where a = v. few individuals (1-5 plants), b = occasional (6-50 plants) and c = common (>50 plants). Record
species height info only where cover >1%.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 87


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 17 (continued)

Survey Name: Date: Site#:


Floristics (cont'd)
Coll: tic ( ) if plant collected Basal area generally occurs across stratum: measure on species basis at dbh 1.3m ht

Heights (m) %Cover BA Fac:


BA BA
Species Col: Range Ave T1 T2 S1 S2 G1 G2
L D
Sum

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

Note: If < 1% then abc, where a = v. few individuals (1-5 plants), b = occasional (6-50 plants) and c = common (>50 plants). Record species
height info only where cover >1%.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 88


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 17 (continued)

Floristics (cont'd) Survey Name: Date: Site#:

additional sheet Heights (m) %Cover BA Fac:

BA BA
Species Col: Range Ave T1 T2 S1 S2 G1 G2 L D Sum

Note: If < 1% then abc, where a = v. few individuals (1-5 plants), b = occassional (6-50 plants) and c = common (>50 plants). Record species
height info only where cover >1%.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 89


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 18: Field Data Proforma - Vegetation Foliage Projective Cover

Transect # _____of_____ Survey ______________________Date:_____________ Site


#
Start: Easting________ Lat: __________ End Easting__________ Lat: _________

Northing_______ Long ______________ Northing__________ Long: ________


Direction From: To: Average Canopy Cover:

OVERSTOREY UNDERSTOREY Totals OVERSTOREY UNDERSTOREY Totals

GL DL BR SK CC GL DL Tr Gr BA SH TTL GL/SH GL DL BR SK CC GL DL Tr Gr BA SH TTL GL/SH


Lit Lit GL Lit Lit GL
1 51
2 52
3 53
4 54
5 55
6 56
7 57
8 58
9 59
10 60
11 61
12 62
13 63
14 64
15 65
16 66
17 67
18 68
19 69
20 70
21 71
22 72
23 73
24 74
25 75
Tr Gr TTL Tr Gr TTL
GL DL BR SK CC GL DL BA SH GL/SH GL DL BR SK CC GL DL BA SH GL/SH
Lit Lit GL Lit Lit GL
26 76
27 77
28 78
29 79
30 80
31 81
32 82
33 83
34 84
35 85
36 86
37 87
38 88
39 89
40 90
41 91
42 92
43 93
44 94
45 95
46 96
47 97
48 98
49 99
50 100
G D B S CC G D Tr Gr B Sh G D B S CC G D Tr Gr B Sh
Tot

Grand Totals

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 90


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 19: NT Site Procedure and Equipment List

Walk around the outside of the potential site to acquaint yourself with it. Avoid too much
traffic within the area to be sampled to reduce disturbance on the ground layer before
measuring and recording;
Make photographic records from standard locations, plus any subsidiary photos, recording
relevant data about the photos onto the field data sheets.
Mark out quadrat boundaries, or locate centre or end point if using plot-less sampling;
Make any general notes about the site (quality, condition, exceptional aspects etc.);
Record site location (GPS & mark location on aerial photograph/map);
Record the stratum summary table first (overall cover & heights for each stratum) to make it
easier when estimating species covers. Heights should be measured by clinometer for anything
over 5 metres, anything under 5 metres can be estimated;
Record basal information by basal sweep from centre of quadrat.
Measure and record cover, height and species in all recognised strata/sub strata (i.e.
upper, mid & lower). Collect and label unidentified plant species and/or data deficient species
for vouchering.
Record landform, soil and other environmental information (i.e. disturbance, fire).
Re-check field data sheets to ensure all fields are completed.
Ensure specimens have been collected, labelled and pressed.
Place permanent marker(s) if sites are to be re-assessed.
Check all equipment has been packed for return to vehicle.

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 91


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping
APPENDICES

APPENDIX 19 (continued)

Field Equipment for General Vegetation Surveys

Equipment Quantity Purpose

Back pack 1 Store and carry field equipment

Field data sheets Adequate for field survey Record data


(habitat, flora & FPC)
Clinometer (direct reading) 2 Measure height and slope

GPS 1 Record coordinates

Slope gauge 1 Measure slope or heights (if no direct reading


clinometer is available)
Compass 2 Assist in marking quadrat boundary and
determine aspect
Basal wedge 2 Determine basal count and species dominance

Camera 1 Taking site photos

Telescope or Crown 1 Measure crown density/crown type or for FPC


densitometer transect
100 metre tapes 1 Mark quadrat boundary or transect

50 metre tape 1 Divide quadrat into smaller quadrats if


necessary
Diameter tape 1 Measure tree diameters if required

Small calculator 1

Water bottle Adequate for field survey Maintain fluids

Hand lens 1 Assist in identifying species

Field press, day press, 1 of each Collecting and drying specimens


adequate newspaper, dryer
Adequate supplies of Adequate for field survey Data recording, GPS, cameras, calculator
pencils/pens, batteries, film
Voucher books 2 Voucher data deficient species

NT Vascular Plant 1 Assist in species recognition


Checklist
Field Guides Appropriate for area of Assist in the field identification of species
survey
Yellow Book 1 Record landform and soil

Munsell chart 1 Record soil colour

Modified from Hnatiuk et al. (2006)

Northern Territory Guidelines and Field Methodology 92


for Vegetation Survey and Mapping