The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has a new agreement with the US Geological Survey to support a pilot project in which regional vegetation data will be analyzed to develop a proposal for new types to be inducted into the US National Vegetation Classification (USNVC); this pilot will develop a peer review process that can be used for future proposed changes to the USNVC. Several members of the ESA Panel on Vegetation Classification will to working on this project, including Dr. Robert Peet at UNC-Chapel Hill and Don Faber-Langendoen at NatureServe.
This pilot project will involve conducting analyses to identify new types and perform modifications to types currently described in the USNVC, ensuring the data used in the analysis is placed into VegBank (www.vegbank.org), the Panel’s public and permanent plot archive, managing the peer review process, and reporting the decisions made, process used, and recommendations for a formalized peer review process for the USNVC.
The first planning teleconference meeting for this project was held on September 26th, 2012. Two sections of Robert Peet’s southeast dataset on longleaf pine were selected for the project. The team is still in the process of cleaning up the data and finalizing the analysis. The first round of proposed changes to these types is scheduled to be completed by mid-May 2013, and the peer review process will begin immediately after the submittal of that work.