British habitats
A note on the
   National Vegetation Classification   

The National Vegetation Classification is the result of a survey of British vegetation, attempting a national synthesis. It was commissioned by the Nature Conservancy Council (as it then existed), with work centred at Lancaster University.

It has been published in five volumes, under the overall editorship of John Rodwell. The introduction to Volume 1 contains a lengthy account of the NVC, its aims and its procedures.


    J.S.Rodwell, et al. (ed.) British Plant Communities. Cambridge University Press.

      Vol. 1. Woodlands and scrub. (1991)

      Vol. 2. Mires and heaths. (1991)

      Vol. 3. Grasslands and montane communities. (1992)

      Vol. 4. Aquatic communities, swamps and tall-herb fens. (1995)

      Vol. 5. Maritime communities and vegetation of open habitats. (2000)

There is a set here in the UWS (Paisley Campus) Library. Additionally, Dr. Silverside keeps a personal set in his office and these may be consulted (not borrowed) at times of mutual convenience.

The importance of the NVC should not be underestimated. It provides a link to the wealth of information already gathered and used on the continent and it now routinely provides the basis for vegetation descriptions during initial site surveys in Britain. Its community concepts and codes are fundamental to current selection and description of SSSI's by the national statutory conservation bodies (e.g. Scottish Natural Heritage). It follows that reference to the NVC is valuable and sometimes essential during ecological work in Britain.

© A.J. Silverside
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