Vegetation Classification and Survey (VCS) is inviting proposals for a Special Collection of papers on the ‘International Vegetation Classification’

By Wolfgang Willner

Title of the Special Collection: The ‘International Vegetation Classification’ initiative: case studies, syntheses, and perspectives on ecosystem diversity around the globe.

Editors: Don Faber-Langendoen (US), Wolfgang Willner (AT), Liu Changcheng (CN), John Hunter (AU), Gonzalo Navarro (BO)

Outline: The ‘International Vegetation Classification’ (IVC) project aims at providing a consistent, systematic, and authoritative description and classification of the world’s terrestrial ecosystems. The IVC is based on the EcoVeg approach (see Faber-Langendoen et al. 2014), which builds on the physiognomic-floristic-ecological classification traditions. As such, this approach shares a central philosophy with floristic-ecological approaches, such as the Braun-Blanquet approach; namely, that vegetation types should be constructed from field data in the context of ecological, dynamic, and biogeographic considerations. It also shares principles with structural-functional approaches that assess patterns of vegetation in the context of global ecological drivers. The IVC currently contains a comprehensive set of upper (formation) types (Faber-Langendoen et al. 2020) and various continental sets of mid-level types, including North and South America (Baldwin et al. 2019, Faber-Langendoen et al. 2018, Navarro 2011), Africa (Sayre et al. 2013) and other parts of the globe (Dixon et al. 2014, Muldavin et al. 2020). The classification is mature enough that it is now being applied to assess ecosystems at risk across regions and continents (Comer et al. 2020, Ferrer-Paris et al. 2019). But much work needs to be done to fully extend the classification at all levels around the globe and facilitate its role in supporting regional, national and subnational classifications and assessments.

For this Special Collection, we invite papers presenting detailed case studies, regional-continental studies as well as global syntheses. We also encourage papers dealing with methodological aspects and the integration of other approaches of vegetation classification within the framework of the IVC.

Procedure and deadlines:

  • until 31 October 2020: Send your proposal (preliminary title, authors, preliminary abstract, expected submission time) to and Abstracts should include study aims, methods and – if possible – the expected results.
  • until 15 November 2020: Evaluation of the proposed contributions by the Special Collection Editors.
  • until 1 March 2021: Submission of invited manuscripts. If this deadline is too short for you, please contact the Editors beforehand.

Vegetation Classification and Survey is the new gold open access journal of the International Association for Vegetation Science. For IAVS members, manuscripts submitted in 2020 and 2021 will be published free of charge after acceptance. For more information, see


  • Baldwin, K., K. Chapman, D. Meidinger, P. Uhlig, L. Allen, et al. 2019. The Canadian National Vegetation Classification: Principles, Methods and Status.  Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service Information Report GLC-X-23.  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, CANADA.
  • Comer, P.J., Hak, J.C., Josse, C., Smyth, R., 2020. Long-term loss in extent and current protection of terrestrial ecosystem diversity in the temperate and tropical America. PLoS ONE 15(6):e0234960.
  • Dixon, A.P., D. Faber-Langendoen, C. Josse, C. J. Loucks, J. Morrison. 2014.  Distribution mapping of world grassland types. Journal of Biogeography 41:2003-2019.
  • Faber-Langendoen D, Keeler-Wolf T, Meidinger D, Tart D, Hoagland B, Josse C, Navarro G, Ponomarenko S, Saucier J-P, … Comer P (2014) EcoVeg: a new approach to vegetation description and classification. Ecological Monographs 84: 533–561.
  • Faber-Langendoen D, Baldwin K, Peet RK, Meidinger D, Muldavin E, Keeler-Wolf T, Josse C (2018) The EcoVeg approach in the Americas: U.S., Canadian and international Vegetation Classifications. Phytocoenologia 48: 215–237.
  • Faber-Langendoen, D., G. Navarro, W. Willner, D.A. Keith, C. Liu, K. Guo and D. Meidinger.  2020. Perspectives on terrestrial biomes: The International Vegetation Classification. In: Goldstein, M.I., DellaSala, D.A. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of the World’s Biomes, vol. 1. Elsevier, pp. 1–15
  • Ferrer-Paris, J.R., Zager, I., Keith, D.A., et al., 2018. An ecosystem risk assessment of temperate and tropical forests of the Americas with an outlook on future conservation strategies. Conservation Letters 12, 1–10.
  • Muldavin, E.., E. Addicott, J.T. Hunter, D. Lewis, and D. Faber-Langendoen. 2020 (in review). Australian Vegetation Classification and the International Vegetation Classification Framework: an overview.  Australian Journal of Botany.
  • Navarro, G., 2011. Clasificación de la vegetación de Bolivia. Centro de Ecología Difusión Simón I Patiño, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
  • Sayre, R., Comer, P., Hak, J., et al., 2013. A new map of standardized terrestrial ecosystems of Africa. Association of American Geographers, Washington, DC.