Monday, June 7, 2010

Vegetation Classification

Here is Kuchler's classification, reprinted without permission (they may come hunt me down later).  Sorry, I did not get to choose the classification letters - if I could have, I would have picked other ones.  But it's Kuchler's system, so they are his letters:

The various formulas are used to designate types of vegetation. Each formula constitutes a short description of the chief characteristics of a vegetation. The classification is based on whether plants are woody or herbaceous, and if woody, whether they are broadleaf or needleleaf, or if they are evergreen or deciduous. The small letters are added to give more detail to the description.


All capital letters other than G and L imply trees, unless accompanied by s or z.  The small letters refer to the capital letter immediately preceding them.  Thus, DsG means that the vegetation consists of broadleaf deciduous shrubs (Ds) and of grass (G); GBp represents grass (G) with patches of braodleaf evergreen trees (Bp).  Modifiers include:

b - Vegetation largely or entirely absent
i - Plants sufficiently far apart that they frequently do not touch
p - Growth singly or in groups or patches
s - Shrubform, minimum height 3 feet
z - Dwarf shrubform, maximum height 3 feet

The predominant vegetation forms include:

B - Broadleaf evergreen trees (Amazon, Congo, Sumutra-Borneo, Southeast Asia)
Bs - Broadleaf evergreen shrubform, minimum height 3 feet (Mediterranean scrubland)
Bsp - Broadleaf evergreen, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet, growth singly or in groups and patches (chaparral, Baja, Sonora Desert)
Bzi, Bz - Broadleaf evergreen, dwarf shrubform, maximum height 3 feet, plants sufficiently far apart that they do not touch (sagebrush  - Nevada Desert, scattered areas of the Western U.S.)

D - Broadleaf deciduous trees (Ohio-Indiana, Western Europe, Zambezi Basin, Southeast Asia highlands, Deccan Plateau)
Di - Broadleaf decidous trees, plants sufficiently far apart that they frequently do not touch (caatinga - Northeastern Brazil)
Ds - Broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet (Yucatan Peninsula, Haiti)
Dsi - Broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet, plants sufficiently far enoguh that they frequently do not touch (Mexican Plateau)
Dsp - Broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet, growth singly or in groups or patches (desert regions worldwide, Sahara, Kara Kum, Arabian Peninsula)
Dzp - Broadleaf deciduous, dwarf shrubform, maximum height 3 feet, growth singly or in groups or patches (Sind, Indus Valley)
DsG - Broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet, with grass and other herbaceous plants (outer pampas of Argentina, Ecuador)
DG - Broadleaf deciduous trees with grass and other herbaceous plants (Serengeti, Russian wooded steppe)
DBs - Broadleaf deciduous trees with broadleaf evergreen, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet (Bihar-Orissa in India)

E - Needleleaf evergreen trees (Northern Canada, Pacific Northwest, Russia & Western Siberia)
Ep - Needleleaf evergreen trees, growth singly or in groups or patches (New Mexico)

G - Grass and other herbaceous plants (Great Plains, Russian Steppe, Pampas, Veldt, Manchuria)
Gp - Grass and other herbaceous plants, growth singly or in groups or patches (Gobi Desert, eastern Iran & Afghanistan, central Australia)
GBp - Grass and other herbaceous plants with broadleaf evergreen trees, growth singly or in groups or patches (southern Spain, Australian Outback)
GD - Grass and other herbaceous plants with broadleaf deciduous trees (savanna, from Kenya to Senegal, central Zaire)
GDp - Grass and other herbaceous plants with broadleaf deciduous trees, growth singly or in groups or patches (Uruguay)
GDsp - Grass and other herbaceous plants with broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet, growth singly or in groups or patches (Sahel, south Texas, Somalia, Peruvian Puna, Thar Desert)

GSp - Grass and other herbaceous plants with broadleaf evergreen and deciduous trees (semideciduous), growth singly or in groups or patches (Gran Chaco, Central Brazil, Northern Territory, Queensland)

L - Herbaceous plants other than grass (tundra, moors, heath, highlands above the treeline, worldwide)

M - Mixed: broadleaf deciduous and needleleaf evergreen trees (Central Europe, Virginia-Tennessee, Szechwan China, North Island NZ)

N - Needleleaf deciduous trees (taiga, northern & eastern Siberia)
ND - Needleleaf deciduous and broadleaf deciduous trees (Khintan Mountains China, Amur Basin)

S - Semideciduous: broadleaf evergreen and broadleaf deciduous trees (Yangtze Basin, Brazilian Rainforest, Bali)
Ss - Semideciduous: broadleaf evergreen and broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet (high Pampas western Argentina)
SsG - Semideciduous: broadleaf evergreen and broadleaf deciduous, shrubform, minimum height 3 feet, with grass and other herbaceous plants (Swanland Australia)
Szp - Semideciduous: broadleaf evergreen and broadleaf deciduous, dwarf shrubform, maximum height 3 feet, growth singly or in groups or patches (Patagonia)
SE - Semideciduous: broadleaf evergreen and broadleaf deciduous trees, with needleleaf evergreen trees (Yunnan China)

b - Vegetation largely or entirely absent (includes both snowfields such as Greenland or Antarctica, or desert ergs such as parts of the Sahara, the Takla Makan in China, the Empty Quarter in Arabia or large areas of central Australia)

6 comments:

R said...

I'll take these posts over rants any day :-) Keep the hits coming.

JDJarvis said...

fantasy gaming needs
F- Fungal Growth (mushroom forest)
P- Slimes (slime pits of zag)
K- Crystaline (crystal forests of Qsyth)

Alexis said...

Sorry R,

You must put up with the bad as well as the good.

Carl said...

Great pictures!

Symeon Kokolas said...

JDJarvis, all of those could be introduced as subcategories of L, G, or the tree terms. Slime pits would make sense as Ls, mushroom forests as Df, and crystalline forests as Dc. If you wanted to specify isolated spiky fungal shrubs, use Nfsi. Perhaps in those cases, the choice of {B,D,E,M,N,S} could be used to indicate climate or form of growth.

Valandil said...

Aaah,Patagonia, my land. What a beatiful place to live.

Great post, by the way.