To better manage our native vegetation, the New South Wales government is delivering a comprehensive and complete state-wide baseline for the extent and distribution of the different groupings or types of vegetation – the State Vegetation Type Map (SVT Map).
The SVT is based on site surveys, a standard classification system and high resolution spatial representation. With a complete vegetation type map for NSW, for the first time government, business and the community will be able to see what we currently know about the distribution of Plant Community Types for all of NSW. This approach will provide a wide-ranging basis to set conservation priorities instead of just localized and incomplete information.
Plant Community Types (PCTs) are the agreed foundation level for classifying vegetation in NSW and are intended to provide the most ecologically relevant grouping of plant species for a range of purposes not just mapping. For example, site assessments will use this classification unit to describe the vegetation present and compare their current condition with related benchmarks.
Plant communities are complex and dynamic entities that can be challenging to map or even recognize on the ground especially where they have been significantly modified through clearing or logging. Some closely related PCTs can share common species or differ by a particular layer. Boundaries between types are not always distinct. Our understanding of PCTs will continue to change as more site survey data is collected especially in poorly sampled areas.
With the support of the NSW Environmental Trust, a major project was initiated to accelerate the creation of a complete and consistent reference layer for the extent and distribution of the approximately 1300 (PCTs) in NSW–the State Vegetation Type Map.
The State Vegetation Map cannot be expected to be a perfect and timeless representation of the landscape. Rather, it is designed to provide a common basis for vegetation information in NSW that can be readily updated without the need for producing entirely new maps. The underlying skeleton can more easily incorporate new site information and more detailed special-purpose vegetation maps (where compatible) to continuously improve the state wide picture.
For more information about vegetation information please visit our website at: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/vegetation/vinfo.htm
Senior Team Leader Vegetation Mapping
Native Vegetation Information Science Branch
Office of Environment and Heritage