Department of Biology
Institute of Plant Science and Microbiology
    Division BEE  >  Biodiversity & Ecology  >  Vol.4 >  Article 31

Biodiversity & Ecology

Long Database Report    Open Access 

Vegetation-plot database of the Carolina Vegetation Survey

Robert K. Peet*, Michael T. Lee, M. Forbes Boyle, Thomas R. Wentworth, Michael P. Schafale & Alan S. Weakley

Article first published online: 24 September 2012

DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00081

*Corresponding author contact: peet@unc.edu

Biodiversity & Ecology  (Biodivers. Ecol.)

Special Volume: Vegetation databases for the 21st century,
edited by Jürgen Dengler, Jens Oldeland, Florian Jansen, Milan Chytrý, Jörg Ewald, Manfred Finckh, Falko Glöckler, Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez, Robert K. Peet & Joop H.J. Schaminée
Volume 4, pages 243–253, Sep 12
  PDF  (1.1 MB)

Keywords: community type; concept-based taxonomy; scale; Southeastern United States; species-area.


Abstract: The Carolina Vegetation Survey (CVS) is a multi-institutional research program designed to document the composition of the natural vegetation of the Carolinas and adjacent states. CVS maintains a system of databases (GIVD ID NA-US-006) that contain data from over 8,200 vegetation plots containing records of in excess of 3,500 species and spanning over 600 vegetation types recognized in the US National Vegetation Classification Standard (NVCS). Over 5,300 of these plots were collected using the level-5 CVS protocol, which provides documentation of composition across a range of spatial scales from 0.01 to at least 100 and often 1,000 m². As such, the CVS database contains the largest set of multi-scale vegetation plot data yet assembled. In addition, the standard CVS protocol includes tallies of woody stems by diameter and detailed documentation of soil and other environmental attributes. The Carolina Vegetation Survey Database system provides a flexible data archive built on the VegBank data model and is designed to store a wide range of vegetation-plot data, from restoration plots tracking the success of planted stems to plots with a complete inventory of both tree stems and plant cover values. Concept-based taxonomy is implemented for both community types and plant taxa, reducing the ambiguity that is inherent in using names only, as the meaning of a name can vary with taxonomic authority. The plots in the CVS archive have been used in numerous publications to document compositional variation in vegetation of the southeastern US and to address a range of broader questions such as patterns in species richness, patterns of species specialization versus generalization, species-area relationships, design of targets for ecological restoration, and documentation of long-term trends in vegetation composition.

Suggested citation:
Peet, R.K., Lee, M.T., Boyle, M.F., Wentworth, T.R., Schafale, M.P., Weakley, A.S. (2012): Vegetation-plot database of the Carolina Vegetation Survey. – 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: 243–253. DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00081.