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Module Objective
Learn to use the physiognomic formula to
describe easily and quickly the structure of
the climax forest, the Analog Forestry site and
from any other site.
What is the physionomic formula
• The physionomic formula of the vegetation is a tool that allow
to obtain in an easy and fast way a description, with symbols,
the structure of the tree component and non-tree component
of the area.
How to use the physionomic formula
The Physionomic Formula is used to describe an area, parcel,
climax forest or other type of natural system with letters and
numbers that represent all kinds of woody plants, non-woody,
special growth and coverage as these are in the area where a
Forest Garden will be established.

Source: (1)
Source (drawing): Jenny DeMarco

Example of a physionomic formula
V8r, V7e, V6p, V5i; G2c; C2-7e; B6p; X6r; P7r.
Formula for the Physionomic Description of
the Vegetation
A. Growth by categories
A. Gowth by categories
1. Basic Growth Forms
Symbol
Woody plants
Evergreen broadleaved
Deciduous broadleaved
Needle leaved evergreen
Needle leaved deciduous
Without leaves
Mixed
Non woody plants
Graminoid
Ferns
Herbaceous plants
Lichens and mosses

V
D
E
N
O
M
G
F
H
L
A. Growth by categories
1. Basic Growth Forms. Woody plants

Form

Description

V

Evergreen broadleaved: Plants whose leaves are renewed
gradually over a year. They stay green all year round
(perennial) and broadleaf

D

Deciduous broadleaved: Tree whose leaves are off the end of
the period of growth or at maturity (deciduous)

E

Needle leaved evergreen: Plants with needle-shaped leaves
evergreen.

V

E

D
A. Growth by categories
1. Basic Growth Forms. Woody plants

Form

Description

N

Needle leaved deciduous: Plants with needle-shaped leaves
that emerge in periods or seasons.

O

Without leaves: Plants that have no leaves, mainly dry forest
species or in summer time.

M

Mixed: A mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees present
in the same area.

N

M
O
A. Growth by categories
1. Basic Growth Forms. Non-woody plants
Form

Description

G
F

Graminoid: Grasses and similar plants. For example, grass, corn, rice,
bamboo.

H

Herbaceous plants: Having characteristics of grass (plant with no wooden
stem and non-persistent). It is also commonly seen in aquatic and
terrestrial habitats (2).

L

Lichens and Mosses: Organisms, primary colonizers in almost all
ecosystems. Pioneers in the formation of soil for the subsequent arrival of
other plant organisms.

Ferns: plants that only reproduce by spores, and without seeds, flowers
and fruits. They prefer a climate with uniform temperatures and high
humidity conditions.

H

G
F

L
Formula for the Physionomic Description of
the Vegetation
A. Growth by categories
2. Special Growth Forms
Climbers (vines)
Succulents (Cactus)
Leafy bushes
Bunches (Banana)
Bamboo
Epiphyte
Palm trees

C
S
U
R
B
X
P
A. Growth by categories
2. Special growth forms

Form

Description

C

Climbers: Plant that, can avail of itself to sustain themselves
erect, including on other plants, a wall, a cliff (2).

S

Suculentas (cactus): Succulent (cactus) and succulents, those
that have developed stems or thick and fleshy leaves to store
water in their bodies.

U

Leafy bushes: Small woody plants with many stems and
leaves.

R

Bunches (banana): plants with fruit in clusters, some of
them are better known as Musa (Banana).

R

C
S
A. Gowth by categories
2. Special Growth Forms

Form

Description

B

Bamboo: plant belonging to the grasses, with
woody stems normally in the form of hollow reed.
Useful for crafts.

X

Epiphytes: plant that lives on another plant if
feeding on her, their diversity and forms are
extremely broad. Used in floral arrangements.

P

Palm trees: usually with a single stem with leaves
showy flowers are usually pollinated by insects,
especially beetles, bees and flies.

P

B
X
Formula Fisionómica de la Vegetación

B. Structure Category
B. Structure category
1. Height (EStratification)

8 = > 35 m
7 = 20 – 35 m
6 = 10 – 20 m
5 = 5 – 10 m
4=2–5m
3 = 0.5 – 2 m
2 = 0.1 – 0.5 m
1 = < 0.1m
8 = > 35 m

7 = 20 – 35 m

6 = 10 – 20 m

5 = 5 – 10 m

4=2–5m

3 = 0.5 – 2 m
2 = 0.1 – 0.5 m
1 = < 0.1m
Formula Fisionómica de la Vegetación

B. Structure Category
2. Cover (Surface percentaje)
Continuous (>75%)
c
Interrupted (50 - 75%)
i
Patches (25 - 50%)
p
Rare (de 6 a 25%)
r
Sporadic (1 - 6%)
e
Almost absent (< 1%)
a
Cover (Surface percentaje)
Less than 1%
Almost absent (a)
Cover (Surface percentaje)
1-6%
Sporadic (e)
Cover (Surface percentaje)
6-25%
Rare (r)
Cover (Surface percentaje)
25-50%
Patches (p)
Cover (Surface percentaje)
50-75%
Interrupted (i)
Cover (Surface percentaje)
Over 75%
Continuous (c)
References
• (2) Kappelle, M.
http://attila.inbio.ac.cr:7777/pls/portal30/INBIO_BIODICTIONARY.DYN_WORD_LIST.show?p_
arg_names=_show_header&p_arg_values=YES&p_arg_names=pLetra&p_arg_values=g

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The Physiognomic Formula in Analog Forestry

  • 1. Module Objective Learn to use the physiognomic formula to describe easily and quickly the structure of the climax forest, the Analog Forestry site and from any other site.
  • 2. What is the physionomic formula • The physionomic formula of the vegetation is a tool that allow to obtain in an easy and fast way a description, with symbols, the structure of the tree component and non-tree component of the area.
  • 3. How to use the physionomic formula The Physionomic Formula is used to describe an area, parcel, climax forest or other type of natural system with letters and numbers that represent all kinds of woody plants, non-woody, special growth and coverage as these are in the area where a Forest Garden will be established. Source: (1)
  • 4. Source (drawing): Jenny DeMarco Example of a physionomic formula V8r, V7e, V6p, V5i; G2c; C2-7e; B6p; X6r; P7r.
  • 5. Formula for the Physionomic Description of the Vegetation A. Growth by categories A. Gowth by categories 1. Basic Growth Forms Symbol Woody plants Evergreen broadleaved Deciduous broadleaved Needle leaved evergreen Needle leaved deciduous Without leaves Mixed Non woody plants Graminoid Ferns Herbaceous plants Lichens and mosses V D E N O M G F H L
  • 6. A. Growth by categories 1. Basic Growth Forms. Woody plants Form Description V Evergreen broadleaved: Plants whose leaves are renewed gradually over a year. They stay green all year round (perennial) and broadleaf D Deciduous broadleaved: Tree whose leaves are off the end of the period of growth or at maturity (deciduous) E Needle leaved evergreen: Plants with needle-shaped leaves evergreen. V E D
  • 7. A. Growth by categories 1. Basic Growth Forms. Woody plants Form Description N Needle leaved deciduous: Plants with needle-shaped leaves that emerge in periods or seasons. O Without leaves: Plants that have no leaves, mainly dry forest species or in summer time. M Mixed: A mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees present in the same area. N M O
  • 8. A. Growth by categories 1. Basic Growth Forms. Non-woody plants Form Description G F Graminoid: Grasses and similar plants. For example, grass, corn, rice, bamboo. H Herbaceous plants: Having characteristics of grass (plant with no wooden stem and non-persistent). It is also commonly seen in aquatic and terrestrial habitats (2). L Lichens and Mosses: Organisms, primary colonizers in almost all ecosystems. Pioneers in the formation of soil for the subsequent arrival of other plant organisms. Ferns: plants that only reproduce by spores, and without seeds, flowers and fruits. They prefer a climate with uniform temperatures and high humidity conditions. H G F L
  • 9. Formula for the Physionomic Description of the Vegetation A. Growth by categories 2. Special Growth Forms Climbers (vines) Succulents (Cactus) Leafy bushes Bunches (Banana) Bamboo Epiphyte Palm trees C S U R B X P
  • 10. A. Growth by categories 2. Special growth forms Form Description C Climbers: Plant that, can avail of itself to sustain themselves erect, including on other plants, a wall, a cliff (2). S Suculentas (cactus): Succulent (cactus) and succulents, those that have developed stems or thick and fleshy leaves to store water in their bodies. U Leafy bushes: Small woody plants with many stems and leaves. R Bunches (banana): plants with fruit in clusters, some of them are better known as Musa (Banana). R C S
  • 11. A. Gowth by categories 2. Special Growth Forms Form Description B Bamboo: plant belonging to the grasses, with woody stems normally in the form of hollow reed. Useful for crafts. X Epiphytes: plant that lives on another plant if feeding on her, their diversity and forms are extremely broad. Used in floral arrangements. P Palm trees: usually with a single stem with leaves showy flowers are usually pollinated by insects, especially beetles, bees and flies. P B X
  • 12. Formula Fisionómica de la Vegetación B. Structure Category B. Structure category 1. Height (EStratification) 8 = > 35 m 7 = 20 – 35 m 6 = 10 – 20 m 5 = 5 – 10 m 4=2–5m 3 = 0.5 – 2 m 2 = 0.1 – 0.5 m 1 = < 0.1m
  • 13. 8 = > 35 m 7 = 20 – 35 m 6 = 10 – 20 m 5 = 5 – 10 m 4=2–5m 3 = 0.5 – 2 m 2 = 0.1 – 0.5 m 1 = < 0.1m
  • 14. Formula Fisionómica de la Vegetación B. Structure Category 2. Cover (Surface percentaje) Continuous (>75%) c Interrupted (50 - 75%) i Patches (25 - 50%) p Rare (de 6 a 25%) r Sporadic (1 - 6%) e Almost absent (< 1%) a
  • 15. Cover (Surface percentaje) Less than 1% Almost absent (a)
  • 20. Cover (Surface percentaje) Over 75% Continuous (c)
  • 21. References • (2) Kappelle, M. http://attila.inbio.ac.cr:7777/pls/portal30/INBIO_BIODICTIONARY.DYN_WORD_LIST.show?p_ arg_names=_show_header&p_arg_values=YES&p_arg_names=pLetra&p_arg_values=g