How to classify South African indigenous forests: approach, methods, problems, perspectives
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South African indigenous forests were the subject of a classification exercise aimed at definition of major forest types and construction of a simple hierarchical vegetation system for the purposes of biodiversity conservation and large-scale planning. Field data (in total almost 4500 vegetation relevés) were classified (and subject to other numeric-analytical pattern seeking tools) to achieve our goals. This paper is describing and discussing the major features of the approach used. Points of departure and their consequences for the data-analyses are presented, motivation for particular choice of techniques is revealed and technical issues of the analyses discussed in detail. The approach featured in this paper can serve as a raw pattern for methodological basis for other endeavours involving classification of vegetation in South Africa.