Vegetation Science Group

Department of Botany and Zoology | Faculty of Science | Masaryk University

Expert system Vegetation of the Czech Republic

for automatic classification of vegetation relevés

Expert system Vegetation of the Czech Republic enables automatic assignment of relevés to associations defined in the monograph Vegetation of the Czech Republic. Assignment of relevés proceeds in two steps:

  1. Assignment using formal definitions (Cocktail method)
    The Cocktail method creates unequivocal definitions of associations based on the presence of sociological species groups and dominance of selected species. Expert system evaluates individual relevés and assigns them to the associations. A detailed description of the process can be found in English Summary of Vegetation of the Czech Republic or in Kočí et al. (2003).
  2. Similarity-based assignment
    Some relevés, especially those containing few ecologically specialized species, may remain unassigned using the formal definitions. From the phytosociological viewpoint, these relevés represent untypical stands. If necessary, these relevés may be assigned to associations based on their numerical similarity to relevés that fulfill requirements of formal definitions. This method of similarity-based assignment is described by Kočí et al. (2003) and Tichý (2005).

Relevé assignment by expert system in the JUICE program

  • Expert system – basic version (download)
    Basic version assigns relevés using formal definitions.
  • Expert system – full version (download)
    Full version assigns relevés using formal definitions and similarity. The analysis with the full version is slower than the analysis with the basic version.

How to use the expert system in the JUICE program?

  1. Unzip the expert system files from *.zip format to *.txt format and save them to a disk.
  2. Export relevés to be analysed from the TURBOVEG program to the JUICE program. TURBOVEG must contain the Czech-Slovak (formerly called Central European) species list, export must be in CC! file and species checklist KUBAT9 must be used during relevé import to JUICE. Expert system for non-forest vegetation should be applied to non-forest vegetation only, and expert system for forest vegetation to forest vegetation only. Shrub vegetation can be identified using both expert systems.
  3. Select Analysis / Expert system in the JUICE program.
  4. Upload an expert system file by pressing Load ES File button.
  5. Modify species nomenclature by pressing Modify Species Names button.
  6. If there are juvenile species in the herb layer in the relevés to be analysed, they should be deleted by pressing Delete Juveniles button.
  7. In some cases, narrow species concepts were changed to broader concepts, resulting in repetitions of the same names in the tables. These must be merged using Merge Same Spec. Names button. This will also merge records of the same species in different vegetation layers, because expert system assumes that each species name is contained no more than once in the same relevé.
  8. When using the full version of expert system, threshold similarity value for similarity-based assignment must be specified in a field in the bottom right part of the form. The higher the value, the fewer relevés will be assigned, while only those relevés will be assigned that have a high similarity to the association. If the threshold value is set to 0, all the relevés will be assigned, but some of them will be very dissimilar to the associations which they are assigned to.
  9. Run expert system using Classify Relevé button (a relevé marked by a previous mouse click will be identified) or Classify (colour) Relevés button (all relevés of a selected colour will be assigned).
  10. If a single relevé is classified, species groups present in this relevé and the assignment of the relevé to an association will be shown. No association will be shown if the relevé remains unclassified. Occasionally a relevé can be assigned to more than one association. If the full version of expert system is used, the table will contain a list of associations ranked by decreasing similarity with the relevé (in relevés unassigned to any association or those assigned to more than one association).
  11. If several relevés are classified, association codes will appear in the header of those relevés that were assigned based on the formal definitions. The legends for the codes can be found in the monograph Vegetation of the Czech Republic or in the expert system text file. The header will remain empty in relevés unassigned to any association. Relevés assigned to more than one association will be marked with +. If the full version of expert system is used, the output will contain the most similar associations for those relevés which have remained unassigned to associations or were assigned to more than one association.
  12. Using formal definition, expert system normally assigns some relevés of a single stand to certain association while other relevés of the same stand remain unassigned. This means that the stand consists of patches with species composition typical of the given association and patches with a less typical species composition. If different relevés from a single relatively homogeneous stand are assigned to different association, it is appropriate to interpret a stand as transitional between these associations.
  13. Unlike the older versions of the expert system, which were separated for forest and non-forest vegetation, the current version has been integrated, working for all vegetation types.