Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (2): 128-178.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0272

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Contents and protocols for the classification and description of Vegetation Formations, Alliances and Associations of vegetation of China

WANG Guo-Hong1,*(),FANG Jing-Yun1,2,GUO Ke1,XIE Zong-Qiang1,TANG Zhi-Yao2,SHEN Ze-Hao2,WANG Ren-Qing3,WANG Xiang-Ping4,WANG De-Li5,QIANG Sheng6,YU Dan7,PENG Shao-Lin8,DA Liang-Jun9,LIU Qing10,LIANG Cun-Zhu11   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2Institute of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    3School of Life Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China
    4College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    5School of Environment, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
    6School of Life Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
    7College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
    8School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 442000, China
    9School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    10Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
    11School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
  • Received:2019-10-15 Accepted:2019-11-25 Online:2020-02-20 Published:2020-04-08
  • Contact: Guo-Hong WANG
  • 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)


Vegegraphy, a compound word of prefix “vege-” of “vegetation” and suffix of “-graphy” (description), is a series of monographs that describe species composition, structures, functions, distribution and environmental settings of a set of plant communities and/or their combinations. The Vegegraphy of China, which will be composed of 48 volumes and about 110 issues, is the first version to describe the medium-level units (Alliance Group, Alliance) and the lower-level units (Association Group, Association), and summarizes the higher-level units (Vegetation Formation Group, Vegetation Formation, Vegetation Subformation) in the Chinese Vegetation Classification System. The description of the higher-level units is highly generalized, mainly based on the data and evidences from the classification and description of the medium- and the lower-level classification units of the Chinese vegetation classification system, focusing on the geographic distribution, natural environment, community physiognomy, vegetation type and diversity, dominant species, values for biodiversity conservation, and the status of current vegetation resources at the scales of both worldwide and China. It is an important revision and expansion of the relevant content of Vegetation of China (1980) and will be the most authoritative and accurate description of the basic characteristics of Chinese vegetation. Alliance Group in each issue is briefly described on geographical distribution, natural environment, vegetation types, significance and conservation etc. Alliance as a key medium- level unit is to be described on several aspects, i.e., geographical distribution, natural environment, ecological characteristics, vegetation composition, vegetation structure, vegetation types and characteristics, biological characteristics of dominant species, biomass and productivity, vegetation dynamics and succession, and significance and conservation. As a core content of the above mentioned aspects, vegetation classification and description are conducted under the guidance of the “80 scheme” of Vegetation of China, using vegetation survey data as credentials to quantitatively differentiate vegetation types accordingly. Specifically, a vegetation classification scheme is determined based on supraterraneous stratification, and a set of diagnostic species while vegetation descriptions focus on physiognomy, community structure, species composition, including quantitative features of dominant species, companion species, constant species and accidental species, as well as their environmental preferences. In this study, we first put forward a code of vegetation nomenclature for the medium-level units (Alliance Group, Alliance) and the lower-level units (Association Group, Association) in the Chinese Vegetation Classification System. According to this vegetation nomenclature, the name of a vegetation type is composed of the name of a diagnostic species (may also be a dominant species) of each layer of the vegetation type and the name of the higher-level units (Vegetation Formation or Vegetation Formation Group) to which it belongs, which guarantees both scientific soundness and practical sense of the vegetation nomenclature. Contents and protocols for the research and editing of “Vegegraphy of China”, including vegetation survey and sample collection, literature compilation, climate, soil and topography data collection and compilation, vegetation classification, vegetation nomenclature, vegetation description outlines, are elaborated or exemplified in detail.

Key words: vegetation, vegegraphy, vegetation classification, vegetation nomenclature, vegetation description, Alliance Group, Alliance, Association Group, Association