Australian Vegetation Attribute Manual

National Vegetation Information System, Version 6.0
Executive Steering Committee for Australian Vegetation Information (ESCAVI)
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2003
ISBN 0 642 54953 2

Section Three (continued): List of NVIS Attributes

Descriptions of NVIS Attributes (continued)

Vegetation Description Level Attributes

Reference Information

Attribute: VG01 - VEGETATION IDENTIFICATION
Heading Details
Purpose: To definitively identify each unique vegetation description at the jurisdictional level.
Requirement: Mandatory
Database Field Name: VEG_ID
Description: This is a unique number assigned by each jurisdiction to each unique vegetation description. It is suggested that the numbers are assigned sequentially within a State or Territory. Ideally each VEG_ID can be matched to a single NVIS_ID on a 1:1 basis.
Value: Number(10)
Example: 3078
Comments: Once assigned, the number cannot be changed.
Status: New field: not yet implemented in the NVIS Oracle database.
Attribute: VG02 - NVIS IDENTIFICATION
Heading Details
Purpose: To definitively identify each unique vegetation description at the national level.
Requirement: Commonwealth
Database Field Name: NVIS_ID
Description: This is a number assigned by the Commonwealth to each unique vegetation description supplied by the States and Territories. The numbers are assigned sequentially on initial receipt of the data. Ideally each SOURCE_CODE (and/or VEG_ID) can be matched to a single NVIS_ID on a 1:1 basis.
Value: Number(10)
Example: 3078
Comments: Once assigned, the number cannot be changed. Maintenance of this field is highly desirable and would be essential in a fully distributed system.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database.
Attribute: VG03 - SOURCE CODE
Heading Details
Purpose: To enable labelling of each mapping unit with the original mapping code used by the data supplier (usually a State or Territory).
Requirement: Mandatory
Database Field Name: SOURCE_CODE
Description: The original mapping code used by the data custodian for labelling and displaying the map unit. The original code used by the data supplier for uniquely describing or identifying the vegetation description.
If there is a hierarchy in the coding, the lowest level (i.e. the most detailed or descriptive level) should be provided.
Value: Character(50).
Example: 1023 [F3]; 130 [411]; 2005300; 28c_MV; A1; AH0035; KI023A; Land unit 6b1; a8,10Sr k2Ci [803]
Comments: These codes will generally not be comparable between data sets or jurisdictions. This attribute allows the NVIS coding to be matched to the original coding for the sub-association. This field is critical to communicating with collaborators and identifying additional (e.g. printed) information on the vegetation description.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database.
Descriptive Information

Attribute: VG04 - LEVEL OF DETAIL
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe the level of detail in the NVIS Information Hierarchy at which the vegetation description has been supplied by the data custodian.
Requirement: QAQC
Database Field Name: LEVEL_OF_DETAIL (was: ENTRY_LEVEL)
Description: This is used to readily identify the most complex level of data description supplied for each vegetation type.
The vegetation description entry level (association or sub-association) determines the expected detail of stratum information supplied for the vegetation description.
Value: Character(50). This is a value set from a defined lookup table. The values in the lookup table are set by the administrator and cannot be added to.
Example: sub-association
Comments: For future data supply, the minimum expected level of entry would be Association/Level 5.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Issue of legacy content.
Look-up Table for: LEVEL OF DETAIL
Code Explanation
level5_association For each stratum (maximum of 3 strata): floristic information (up to 3 dominant and/or diagnostic species) plus structural formation (Growth form, cover and height are implied as per Table 4 in Section 2). The ecologically predominant stratum is indicated (with a plus symbol: "+"); level 5
level6_sub-association For each layer/sub-stratum (maximum of 8 sub-strata): floristic information (up to 5 dominant and/or diagnostic species) plus structural formation (Growth form, cover and height are implied as per Table 4 in Section 2). The ecologically predominant stratum is indicated (with a plus symbol: "+"); level 6
Attribute: VG05 - NUMBER OF STRATA
Heading Details
Purpose: To identify the number of (sub-)strata described within a vegetation description.
Requirement: QAQC
Database Field Name: NUMBER_OF_STRATA
Description: This attribute provides a quick summary of the number of discrete sub-strata occurring within the one vegetation description. A maximum number of eight sub-strata per sub-association can be reported. The value is provided by the data supplier.
Value: Number(10); Valid range 1-8; There is no particular importance placed on the order of the sub-strata, although previous versions of NVIS specified listing the sub-strata in order of decreasing dominance. Whatever order is chosen should be documented in the Data_Set table.
Example: 3
Comments: This field checks the integrity of the relevant records in the Stratum table through relevant rules (see Section 4).
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database.
Attribute: VG06 - LEVEL 1 (CLASS)
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe level 1 (i.e. the class defining the vegetation type) within the NVIS Information Hierarchy (refer to Table 1).
Requirement: Automated
Database Field Name: L1_CLASS
Description: The description of class should include the growth form for the ecologically dominant stratum of the vegetation type/description (refer to Tables 2 and 3).
Value: Character(50).
Example: Tree
Comments: This attribute should be derived from level 5 or 6 using a rule set.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Need to change field name in the NVIS database.
Attribute: VG07 - LEVEL 2 (STRUCTURAL FORMATION)
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe level 2 (i.e. the structural formation defining the vegetation type) within the NVIS Information Hierarchy (refer to Table 1).
Requirement: Automated
Database Field Name: L2_STRUCTURAL_FORMATION
Description: The description of structural formation should include dominant growth form, height and cover (using the terminology of Tables 2, 3 and 4) for the ecologically dominant stratum of the vegetation type/description.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: Tall open forest
Comments: This attribute should be derived from level 5 or 6 using a rule set.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Need to change field name in the NVIS database.
Attribute: VG08 - LEVEL 3 (BROAD FLORISTIC FORMATION)
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe level 3 (i.e. the broad floristic formation defining the vegetation type) within the NVIS Information Hierarchy.
Requirement: Automated
Database Field Name: L3_BROAD_FLORISTIC_FORMATION
Description: This attribute describes the vegetation type/description with floristic information at the level of genus, plus the structural formation of the dominant stratum reported at the sub-formation level (Level 4) of the NVIS Information Hierarchy (see Table 1). Refer to tables 2, 3 and 4.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: Eucalyptus tall open forest.
Comments: This attribute should be derived from level 5 or 6 using a rule set.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Need to change field name in the NVIS database.
Attribute: VG09 - LEVEL 4 (SUB-FORMATION)
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe level 4 (i.e. the sub-formation defining the vegetation type) within the NVIS Information Hierarchy.
Requirement: Automated
Database Field Name: L4_SUB_FORMATION
Description: For each stratum, the sub-formation description of the vegetation type should include floristic information (genus) plus the structural formation (dominant growth form, cover, height are implied). A maximum of three strata is allowed and the dominant stratum is indicated by a plus symbol "+". Refer to tables 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: Eucalyptus tall open forest\Banksia open shrubland\Themeda open tussock grassland
Comments: This attribute should be derived from level 5 or 6 using a rule set. As at the time of writing, June 2003, the user must input "(mixed)" at this level, if there is no clear dominant genus in a stratum.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Need to change field name in the NVIS database.
Attribute: VG10 - LEVEL 5 (ASSOCIATION)
Heading Details
Purpose: This attribute describes level 5 (i.e. an association level description of the vegetation type) within the NVIS Information Hierarchy (refer to Table 1).
Requirement: Essential
Database Field Name: L5_ASSOCIATION
Description: For each stratum, the association description of the vegetation type should include floristic information for the dominant and/or diagnostic species (maximum of 3 species per stratum) plus the structural formation (dominant growth form, cover, height are implied). A maximum of three strata (upper, mid and ground) are allowed and the dominant stratum is indicated by a plus symbol "+". Refer to tables 1, 2, 3 and 4. For documentation of the dominance and the hats ^, please see Section 2.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: Refer to the Example for Association in Table 6.
Comments: This attribute should be entered directly at this level if the source vegetation data will only support an association-level and not a sub-association-level description. Alternatively, the data can be derived from level 6 using a rule set and/or the use of expert knowledge. As at the time of writing, Feb 2003, the user must interpret this level from level 6 data.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Need to change field name in the NVIS database.
Attribute: VG11 - LEVEL 6 (SUB-ASSOCIATION)
Heading Details
Purpose: This attribute describes the sub-association level description of the vegetation description as defined within the NVIS Information Hierarchy (refer to Table 1).
Requirement: Essential
Database Field Name: L6_SUB_ASSOCIATION
Description: For each layer/sub-stratum, the sub-association description of the vegetation type should include floristic information for the dominant and/or diagnostic species (maximum of 5 species per sub-stratum) plus the structural formation (dominant growth form, cover, height are implied). A maximum of eight sub-strata (as per Table 2) are allowed and the dominant sub-stratum is indicated by a plus symbol "+". Refer to tables 1, 2, 3 and 4. For documentation of dominance and the hats ^, please see Section 2.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: Refer to the example for Sub-Association in Table 6.
Comments: This attribute should be entered directly at this level if the source vegetation data will support a sub-association-level description.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database. Need to change field name in the NVIS database.
Attribute: VG12 - SOURCE DESCRIPTION
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe the mapping unit as used by the data supplier.
Requirement: Essential
Database Field Name: SOURCE_DESCRIPTION
Description: A written description of the original vegetation description used by the data custodian. The written description will be the same as that name held in the original data set, sourced from the custodian of the data.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: Montane grassy woodland
Coastal vine-rich forest
Comments: These descriptions will generally not be comparable between data sets or jurisdictions.
This attribute allows the NVIS sub-association description to be matched to the original description for the sub-association.
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database.
Attribute: VG13 - ENVIRONMENTAL DESCRIPTION
Heading Details
Purpose: To describe the environmental characteristics that consistently occur within the vegetation type.
Requirement: Recommended
Database Field Name: ENVIRONMENTAL_DESCRIPTION
Description: A description of environmental parameters that consistently occur within the vegetation description and thereby help to define it.
Descriptions should be categorical and concentrate on the main physical drivers that influence the type and extent of vegetation. Attributes should include where available geographical location (e.g. Hunter Valley or an IBRA region), soil type/s (e.g. soil depth, texture, structure), geology (e.g. basalt), landform patterns/units (e.g. upper slopes and ridge lines), terrain (elevation range, slope, solar radiation and aspect), climatic types (e.g. long hot dry summer, mild wet winter). Where possible use key words and look up tables linked to published source material.
Value: Character(2000).
Example: This type of vegetation occurs on old sand dunes. The distribution appears to correlate with sheltered moist areas on the landward side of the Rainforests on the deep sands along the east coast of the Range. The recorded fire history varies but cool ground fires are likely to be common and patchy.
Comments:  
Status: Implemented in the NVIS Oracle database.