NVC survey data & distribution maps



NVC survey data


Completed NVC sample card. © JNCCThe published volumes of the NVC are based on a total of about 35,000 samples or relevés. In most cases these comprise a list of species and their abundances from a single square quadrat, together with infomation on the locality, soil, etc. (see diagram right). For woodland stands, however, a sample summarises data from three nested quadrats, each covering a separate layer (i.e. field layer, tall field layer, canopy and shrub layer).

Since the time of original publication, many thousands more NVC samples have been made. Some have associated site maps that show the extent of particular NVC communities/sub-communities. The country conservation agencies and others have significant data holdings coded using the NVC. Some of the more extensive NVC surveys have been collated or summarised, for example:
  • Sand Dune Vegetation Survey of Great Britain (see Dargie 1993, Dargie 1995, Dargie 2000, Radley 1994);
  • Coastal Vegetated Shingle Structures of Great Britain (see Sneddon and Randall 1993);
  • NVC Review of Scottish Grassland Surveys (see Cooper and MacKintosh 1996);
  • Review/experience of woodland NVC data (see Hall 1997, Goldberg 2003);
  • Lowland Grassland Survey of Wales (see Stevens et al. 2007);
  • Lowland Heathland in Wales (see Sherry 2007).


Although some of this data has been encoded in various types of database or spreadsheet software, much has not and NVC information remains widely dispersed in numerous locations that are not linked electronically. There is no centralised database of all NVC samples or surveys undertaken.


Distribution of known stands of NVC ash woodland community W9 (including mosaics and transitions to other types). © JNCCDistribution maps of NVC types

Information and an interactive map showing the distribution of NVC types in the British uplands (as published in An Illustrated Guide to British Upland Vegetation) is available via the following download: 'Upland NVC types'


The same is available for lowland grassland NVC types via the following download: 'Lowland Grassland NVC types'
Information on the distribution of woodland NVC types is available via the following download: 'Woodland NVC types' (see example to right)
The same for lowland heathland NVC types in Wales is available via the following download: 'Lowland Heathland NVC types'