As of completion of the historical data capture phase (May 2012) there are almost 30,000 relevés in the National Vegetation Database (NVD). Each of these relevés provides detailed information about the plant community present at a known point in time and from a traceable location.


  • The NVD provides a comprehensive national baseline

It will allow us to design statistically valid sampling schemes to answer important questions such as: Has the distribution of our habitats changed? How have our vegetation communities been effected by large scale changes to our landscape? Are our rare plants showing a decline, and what changes have occurred in the distribution of invasive species?


  • The NVD creates a core building block from which a national vegetation classification system can be developed

A report was produced NVD 2012 REPORT outlining the contribution the NVD makes towards the development of a future classification system and what gaps exist to achieving that goal. A vegetation classification system for Ireland would allow us to accurately describe our vegetation resource and provide sound scientific advice for nature conservation, particularly in protected site selection. The development of a national vegetation classification system is an action in the National Biodiversity Plan.

The first stage of creating a vegetation classification system for Ireland started in 2015 and is ongoing.


  • The data in the NVD can be used to create map layers showing the distribution of habitats and vegetation communities in Ireland.

This will contribute valuable information to a future national habitat map and a future national vegetation map.


  • The NVD can assist with reporting on implementation of the Habitats Directive (Article 17).

For reporting on priority habitats under the EU Habitats Directive [92/43/EEC] standardised positive and negative indicator species are used to identify habitats and provide information on the quality of the habitat at a particular location. Relevés within the NVD can be searched for these discrete species assemblages, and may help to identify new sites.


  • The NVD contributes large volumes of species data to the National Vascular Plant Database (NVPD) and the National Bryophyte Database.

The NVD has contributed significantly to the plant and bryophyte species records, there are now over 1 milllion species records in the NVPD. These records have been made available to the Botanical Society of the British Isles.


  • The NVD supports the research community.

The database provides access to historical information to help direct and inform current habitat surveys. It also provides easy access to collated data for academics and Ph.D. students so that they can more effectively collaborate and formulate research questions.


  • The NVD contributes data to European Initiatives.

The Irish Vegetation Database is listed in the Global Index of Vegetation-Plot Databases (GIVD) and provides data to European Initiatives. This allows us to become part of a wider Europe and to contribute to, and benefit from, shared knowledge and expertise.