This article provides guidelines for the description, documentation, and review of proposals for new or revised plant associations and alliances to be recognized as units of vegetation within the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (NVC). By setting forth standards for field records, analysis, description, peer review, and archiving, the Ecological Society of America’s Vegetation Classification Panel, in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee, NatureServe, and others, seeks to advance our common understanding of vegetation and improve our capability to sustain and restore natural systems. We provide definitions for the two floristic levels of the NVC hierarchy: associations and alliances. This is followed by a description of standards for field plot records and the identification and classification of vegetation types. Procedures for review and evaluation of proposed additions and revisions of types are provided, as is a structure for data archiving and dissemination. These procedures provide a dynamic and practical way to publish new or revised descriptions of vegetation types while maintaining a current, authoritative list of types
for multiple users to access and apply.