Introduction to Native Vegetation Profiles

Useful tools to aid successful restoration and revegetation

Vegetation profiles provide a simplified impression of landforms and the associated vegetation commonly found in each.  They are useful tools to help recognise boundaries between landforms, for monitoring progress in restoration projects and for guiding species selection in revegetation projects.

Vegetation profiles – what do they represent?

Vegetation profiles aim to convey an impression, not a precise description.  They display a visual impression of the native vegetation across a range of landforms.  In landscapes that have been dramatically altered, for example, cleared for agriculture or recently burnt, the profile drawings and species lists may be quite different to what is in the real landscape.  This is because vegetation profiles convey an impression of intact or restored vegetation, thus providing an idealised image of how the landscape might look if, for example, revegetation was undertaken, or if grazing was managed to allow for the recovery of plants.  The species listed usually represent only a fraction of the plants that could occur there, but these are likely to be important species for overall vegetation structure and ecosystem function.  They provide a valuable selection list for revegetation projects, or a guide for evaluating how well a recovery/restoration program is going.

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Key elements of the vegetation profiles

The vegetation profiles have a series of headings along the left margin, together with three columns of information to the right, each corresponding to a landform with its associated species list.  Each heading refers to a discrete element of the vegetation profile. 

Landform.  This heading will tell you which part of the landscape the profile refers to – is it a ridge top, a creekline, a level plain, etc.

Vegetation community.  This heading usually follows nomenclature used by DLWC for vegetation types, for example, Riverine Forest, Bladder Saltbush Chenopod Shrubland.  It tells something about the structure and dominant species of the community.

Notes.  Provides a brief description of the vegetation, expanding on the vegetation community information, and also a brief note about the geology and soils associated with the vegetation, for example, alluvial - heavy clays; volcanic - granitic sands.

Location example.  Lists places within reasonable distance, where examples of relatively intact vegetation can be seen, either in nature reserves, along roadsides, travelling stock reserves, cemeteries or other remnants.

Species lists.  These are divided into smaller categories, that includes trees, shrubs, small shrubs, groundcovers. A short list of indigenous species representative of the vegetation community is provided. They are ideal for revegetation projects, and can also provide good indicators of vegetation recovery.

The illustration.  Represents key species for landforms that are typically side by side in the study area.

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Matching the right profile to your part of the landscape

Locating yourself

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Choosing the most suitable vegetation profiles for your property

If it does, then spend some time walking around it, take photos, and imagine how your property could look.  Note whether the trees are widely spaced in a woodland structure, or closer together in a forest structure.  Notice how abundant the shrubs and groundcovers are.  If you are planning a revegetation project estimate the ratio of trees : shrubs : groundcovers, as this will help you when ordering seedlings.

If this site does not appear to match well with your property, then try working through the profiles again, choosing a different one.  You may even find it useful to look at profiles from neighbouring areas.  Remember that vegetation profiles are highly simplified, stylised representations of the vegetation.

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