Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (2): 111-127.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0271

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A revised scheme of vegetation classification system of China

GUO Ke1,2,*(),FANG Jing-Yun1,3,WANG Guo-Hong1,TANG Zhi-Yao3,XIE Zong-Qiang1,2,SHEN Ze-Hao3,WANG Ren-Qing4,QIANG Sheng5,LIANG Cun-Zhu6,DA Liang-Jun7,YU Dan8   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3Institute of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    4School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China
    5School of Life Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
    6School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
    7School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    8College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2019-10-15 Accepted:2019-12-16 Online:2020-02-20 Published:2020-04-08
  • Contact: Ke GUO
  • Supported by:
    Special Foundation for National Science and Technology Basic Research Program of China(2015FY210200);Special Foundation for National Science and Technology Basic Resources Investigation of China(2019FY202300);“Strategic Priority Research Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA19050402)

Abstract: The principles and scheme of vegetation classification system of China (China-VCS) were first proposed by Hou in China’s Vegetation in 1960. An improved hierarchy framework and criteria of China-VCS were published in Vegetation of China in 1980. China-VCS was revised in Vegetation of China and Its Geographic Pattern — Illustration of the Vegetation Map of the People’s Republic of China (1:1 000 000) in 2007 and in Flora and Vegetation Geography of China in 2014. Song proposed a new scheme in the text book Vegetation Ecology in 2017. To facilitate Chinese vegetation study and the compilation of the book series on the vegetation of China (Vegegraphy of China), this paper provides a revised scheme of China-VCS. The scheme adopts the principles, units and hierarchy structure in the Vegetation of China that was considered as a milestone in the development of Chinese vegetation science. Based on the phytocoenological-ecological principles, plant community features and its ecological conditions are considered as the key criteria for vegetation classification. There are three levels including eight units in the hierarchy framework of China-VCS: upper level (Vegetation Formation Group, Vegetation Formation, and Vegetation Subformation), middle level (Alliance Group, Alliance, Suballiance), and lower level (Association Group, Association). Nine Vegetation Formation Groups are defined as Forest, Shrubland, Herbaceous Vegetation (Grassland), Desert, Alpine Tundra and Sparse Vegetation, Swamp and Aquatic Vegetation (Wetlands), Agricultural Vegetation, Urban Vegetation, and Non-vegetated Area. Forty-eight Vegetation Formations (30 for natural and semi-natural vegetation, 12 for agricultural vegetation, 5 for urban vegetation, and one for Non-vegetated Area) are defined, including 81 Vegetation Subformations from 23 natural and semi-natural vegetation formations. These vegetation formation groups and 30 natural and semi-natural vegetation formations were described briefly. Some issues on China-VCS, especially on the framework, criterion identifying mixed-forest, and the role of soil in vegetation classification, are discussed.

Key words: vegetation classification, Vegetation Formation, Alliance, Association, community physiognomy, community ecological feature, the phytocoenological-ecological principles