Editors’ Award 2022 for a novel Chinese steppes classification

10 January 2023

As we are welcoming 2023, it is time to reveal the Editors’ Choice Paper from 2022 that has won over the Chief editors of the Vegetation Classification Survey (VCS) journal for the annual Editors’ Award.

On behalf of the Chief editors, we would like to congratulate lead author Changcheng Liu (pictured) and his team: Xianguo Qiao, Ke Guo, Liqing Zhao and Qingmin Pan, a collaboration from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Inner Mongolia University (China) for their article “Vegetation classification of Stipa steppes in China, with reference to the International Vegetation Classification”, published in VCS in June and recognised as the Editors’ Choice Paper for the second quarter of 2022.

Back then, the Editors praised it as the “the first study to provide a comprehensive plot-based classification of Stipa steppes across China”.

In their study, which is part of the journal’s special collection “The 'International Vegetation Classification' initiative: case studies, syntheses, and perspectives on ecosystem diversity around the globe”, the researchers use 1337 plot data from extensive field surveys to conduct a systematic quantitative vegetation classification for Stipa steppes of China.

The authors also point out that Stipa steppes - commonly known as needle grasses and including many forage crops and economically valuable species - present the most important steppes in China. In the meantime, steppe vegetation in China is a crucial component of Eurasian steppe, as it extends all the way from the northeast to southwest of the country across 23° latitude.

By classifying Stipa steppes into associations in a way that is consistent with the International Vegetation Classification, the authors also use their work to start a discussion about the compatibility of the Chinese vegetation classification with its International counterpart.


List of the 2022 Editors’ Choice Papers:

●       “Chilean vegetation in the context of the Braun-Blanquet approach and a comparison with EcoVeg formations” by Miguel Alvarez and Federico Luebert (First quarter)

●       “Vegetation classification of Stipa steppes in China, with reference to the International Vegetation Classification” by Changcheng Liu et al. (Second quarter)

●       “AMS-VegBank: a new database of vegetation plots for the Italian territory” by Nicola Alessi et al. (Third quarter)

●       “Climatic definitions of the world’s terrestrial biomes” by Javier Loidi et al. (Fourth quarter)


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Photo: Changcheng Liu during field work at an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. Credit: Y. He.

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