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FIA has a nice database of forest Inventory data, this would be great except that it does not seem capable of handling data from non-tree species (e.g., grasslands, wetlands).

Is there a standard database or flat-file format for collecting plant community data (e.g., biomass, cover, dbh as appropriate)?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There does not appear to be a current standard, but Veg-X is a standard that has been developed to facilitate exchange of plot-based vegetation data, and may provide the closest to what you are looking for.

Veg-X is described in Wiser et al 2011 and the project home page is http://wiki.tdwg.org/Vegetation/

From the abstract:

The exchange standard for plot-based vegetation data (Veg-X) allows for observations of vegetation at both individual plant and aggregated observation levels. It ensures that observations are fixed to physical sample plots at specific points in space and time, and makes a distinction between the entity of interest (e.g. an individual tree) and the observational act (i.e. a measurement). The standard supports repeated measurements of both individual organisms and plots, allows observations of entities to be grouped following predefined or user-defined criteria, and ensures that the connection between the entity observed and taxonomic concept associated with that observation are maintained.


Wiser, S.K., N. Spencer, M. De Caceres, M. Kleikamp, B. Boyle, & R.K. Peet. 2011. Veg-X -- An international exchange standard for plot-based vegetation data. Journal of Vegetation Science 22:598-609.

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Why don't you accept the answer? –  jmusser Apr 5 '12 at 1:26
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