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The effects of contemporary and previous land management practices are reflected in the present-day condition of native vegetation. In order to properly manage land for productive use or to restore it to its 'natural' condition, it is important to know the changes that have taken place to the use of the land, and the cumulative effect of those changes. Assessing and reporting the resilience of native vegetation using metrics of structure, composition and function is discussed. The system, VAST-2, has been developed in the Australian context, where land management was relatively unchanged for some tens of thousands of years prior to European settlers who arrived some hundred years hence. This reference state provides a structure in which to compile, interpret and sequence data gathered in the past about changes in management practices and the effects of these practices on the condition of native plant communities. Early settlers and subsequent land managers have modified and fragmented the native vegetation thereby transforming many landscapes.