Vegetation classification


Vegetation documentation and classification are basic tools for biological conservation, from planning and inventory to direct resource management. They are also important for basic ecological research, because they provide a way to interpret the spatial variation of plant communities. Plot-based vegetation classification on the basis of floristic composition (i.e. phytosociology) has a long and strong tradition in Europe. In contrast, North American classifications of vegetation lacked consensus on standards until very recently, and the vegetation of other parts of the world has not yet been typified. Other important criteria for classification are vegetation structure and plant functional traits. Although vegetation classifications are conventional and purpose-driven, there is a strong need for homogenizing practices all over the world in order to achieve consistency in the results.


We focus on providing conceptual and methodological improvements for the creation and maintenance of numerical vegetation classifications.

Publication list

  • De Cáceres M, Martín-Alcón S, González-Olabarria JR, Coll L (2019) A general method for the classification of forest stands using species composition and vertical and horizontal structure. Annals of Forest Science (

  • De Cáceres M, Franklin SB, Hunter JT, Landucci F, Dengler J, Roberts DW (2018) Global overview of plot-based vegetation classification approaches. Phytocoenologia 48: 101-112. (; ISSN: 0340-269X; IF 2017: 1.721).

  • Wiser SK, De Cáceres M (2018) New Zealand’s plot-based classification of vegetation. Phytocoenologia 48: 153-161 (

  • De Cáceres M, Chytrý M, Agrillo E, Attorre F, Botta-Dukát Z, Capelo J, Czúcz B, Dengler J, Ewald J, Faber-Langendoen D, Feoli E, Franklin SB, Gavilán R, Gillet F, Jansen F, Jiménez-Alfaro B, Krestov P, Landucci F, Lengyel A, Loidi J, Mucina L, Peet RK, Roberts DW, Roleček J, Schaminée J, Schmidtlein S, Theurillat JP, Tichý L, Walker DA, Wildi O, Willner W, Wiser SK (2015) A comparative framework for broad-scale plot-based vegetation classification. Applied Vegetation Science 18: 543-560 (

  • Wiser SK, De Cáceres M (2013) Updating vegetation classifications: An example with New Zealand’s woody vegetation. Journal of Vegetation Science 24: 80-93 (

  • De Cáceres M,Wiser S (2012) Towards consistency in vegetation classification. Journal of Vegetation Science 23 (2): 387-393. (

  • De Cáceres, M., Font, X, Oliva, F. (2010) The management of numerical vegetation classifications with fuzzy clustering methods. Journal of Vegetation Science 21 (6): 1138-1151. (

  • De Cáceres, M., Font, X., Vicente, P., Oliva, F. (2009) Numerical reproduction of traditional classifications and automated vegetation identification. Journal of Vegetation Science 20 (4): 620-628. (