Biodiversity & Ecology
Long Database Report Open Access
VLAVEDAT – the vegetation database of Flanders (northern Belgium)
Keywords: Europe; Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD); land cover; nature value; phytosociology; plot sampling; relevé; survey; TURBOVEG; vegetation type.
Abstract: Vegetation research based on plot sampling has been carried out in Flanders for more than one hundred years. The history of the Flemish vegetation database (VLAVEDAT; GIVD ID EU-BE-001), which consists of relevés from Flanders (northern part of Belgium), is drawn up. The emergence of VLAVEDAT is situated in a project (1999–2002) of framing a typology of the Flemish nature based on vegetation. Currently, 40,660 relevés are computerized and stored in the VLAVEDAT central database (TURBOVEG) and its close satellite databases together. This paper reviews basic statistical figures on the VLAVEDAT central database. In particular, spatial and ecological distribution of the compiled relevés are illustrated and discussed. As it is the case in many vegetation databases, also VLAVEDAT appears to be biased towards sites and vegetation types of special interest. Within the categories of vegetation types with nature value, the proportion of relevés is well correlated with the area of the habitats they represent in Flanders. Most of the relevés were recorded in permanent grasslands, coastal dunes and marshes. Forests are underrepresented, since these are part of another database that has not yet been incorporated in VLAVEDAT. The spatial distribution of relevés is not uniform among ecoregions of Flanders. To exemplify, when related to their respective land area, the proportion of relevés is very high in the Dunes region, the Valley of the Meuse region and in the Polders regions; in contrast the proportion is lower in the three other ecoregions. VLAVEDAT is currently hosted and managed at the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), a scientific institute of the Flemish Government. Relevés in the VLAVEDAT central database are available upon request according to specific agreement, for the purpose of various projects, and non-commercial use by the scientific community in Flanders and abroad.
Weyembergh, G., T’jollyn, F., Paelinckx, D. (2012): VLAVEDAT – the vegetation database of Flanders (northern Belgium). – In: Dengler, J., Oldeland, J., Jansen, F., Chytrý, M., Ewald, J., Finckh, M., Glöckler, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Peet, R.K., Schaminée, J.H.J. [Eds.]: Vegetation databases for the 21st century. – Biodiversity & Ecology 4: 133–140. DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00068.