Vegetation Map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 2009 and 2012: A description of changes from 2006
Background: The variety of applications in which the Vegetation Map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (VEGMAP) is used requires the map to be continually updated and refined to reflect the latest available information. The VEGMAP has been updated twice, in 2009 and 2012, since its first release in 2006.
Objectives: The first objective is to report on the motivations for changes in the 2009 and 2012 versions. The second objective is to describe new vegetation types and subtypes included in these versions.
Method: Changes to the VEGMAP are implemented after a peer-review process that is managed by the National Vegetation Map Committee. Accepted changes are then incorporated into the VEGMAP using GIS software.
Results: Seventy-one of the 449 vegetation types were affected by updates. Changes included the addition of new vegetation types and subtypes, modifications to the boundaries of types present in the 2006 VEGMAP and changes to the names of vegetation types.
Conclusion: The updates have affected a small portion of the map but have reflected a progressive refinement in quality. Regions that are still mapped at a coarse scale, especially those earmarked for land-use development, should be prioritised for improved map accuracy and classification through a more proactive approach towards vegetation mapping, using guidelines that are under development.