Types of Plant Communities
(from Grossman et al. 1998)
Updated December 15, 2006
Planted/cultivated areas vegetation
"dominated by vegetation which has been planted in its current location by humans and /or is treated with annual tillage, a modified conservation tillage or other intensive management or manipulation. The majority of these areas are planted and/or maintained for the production of food, feed fiber or seed."
"plant communities that appear not to have been modified by human activities or to have only been marginally impacted by such activities. Where impacts are apparent, there exists a clear, naturally maintained analogue for the exiting physiognomic and floristic patterns."
Semi-natural / altered vegetation
"plant communities where the species composition and/or the structure of the vegetation has been altered through anthropogenic disturbance such that no clear natural analogue is known."
"vegetation resulting from succession following anthropogenic disturbance of an area. They are generally characterized by unnatural combinations of species (primarily native species, though they often contain slight to substantial numbers and amounts of species alien to the region as well)."
"dominated by invasive alien species. Though these communities are often casually considered as "planted/cultivated", they are spontaneous, self-perpetuating and not the (immediate) result of planting, cultivation or human maintenance. Land occupied by invasive communities is generally permanently altered (converted) unless restoration efforts are undertaken."
"vegetation resulting from the management or modification of natural/near natural vegetation, but producing a structural and floristic combination not clearly known to have a natural analogue. Modified vegetation may be easily restorable by either management, time or restoration of ecological processes."
Grossman, D.H., D. Faber-Langendoen, A.S. Weakley, M. Anderson et. al. 1998. International classification of ecological communities; terrestrial vegetation of the United States. Vol. 1, The national vegetation classification system: development, status and applications. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington VA.