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Plant monitoring 101

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This is a presentation I gave for a Plant Monitoring course I taught at the Morton Arboretum in September 2014.

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Plant monitoring 101

  1. 1. Plant Monitoring 101
  2. 2. Christopher David Benda – Visiting Plant Ecologist, Illinois Natural History Survey Degognia Canyon – Jackson County
  3. 3. Illinois Native Plant Society Southern Chapter Technical Expert Consultant www.facebook.com/southernillinoisplants
  4. 4. The Flora of Southern Illinois PLB 451 – Plant Biology Dept. Southern Illinois University
  5. 5. Illinois Botanizer www.facebook.com/illinoisbotanizer
  6. 6. Introduction & Outline • Why monitor? • Sampling methods • Resources • Data analysis • Field exercise
  7. 7. Why monitor? • Create an inventory/census (representative sample) • Evaluate changes over time • Per community • Per species • Quantify plant abundance • Measure restoration/management success • Make objective comparisons
  8. 8. Objectives What is your question? • I want to know how many species I have on my property • I want to measure biodiversity over time • I want to evaluate the natural quality of my land • Is there a need to be objective? (peer reviewed journal, statistics, research)
  9. 9. Selecting a Site • Species lists • Previous sampling data • Aerial imagery
  10. 10. The Morton Arboretum
  11. 11. Aerial Imagery Leaf-on
  12. 12. Aerial Imagery Leaf-off
  13. 13. Aerial Imagery Leaf-on
  14. 14. Aerial Imagery Leaf-off
  15. 15. Monitoring Protocols Sampling Methods • How important is objectivity?
  16. 16. Monitoring Protocols Sampling Methods • Releve method
  17. 17. 0.07% in a natural condition
  18. 18. Monitoring Protocols Sampling Methods • Transect-Quadrat method • Plot Design • How many plots are necessary?
  19. 19. Species-Area Curve
  20. 20. Monitoring Protocols Sampling Methods • Transect-Quadrat method • Plot Design • What size plots? (depends on natural community and vertical layer)
  21. 21. Monitoring Protocols Sampling Methods • Transect-Quadrat method • Plot Design • Nested plots? • Patch size
  22. 22. Plot Layout: 12.6 m 4 m 6.8 m 2.8 m
  23. 23. Envision the future Consistency is key! • Pick a sampling protocol and stick with it. • Sample 3 times a year when possible.
  24. 24. Marking the plots Permanent plots vs. GPS points Record Azimuth
  25. 25. Equipment Meter tape DBH tape Quadrat Stake Random number generator
  26. 26. Conducting the monitoring • How to measure trees • Measure on the upslope side • If double trunked, measure as one tree if split is above DBH • DBH = diameter at Breast Height (4.5m)
  27. 27. Conducting the monitoring • Laying Transect • Percent Cover estimates • Stem Count
  28. 28. Conducting the monitoring • Plant Identification • Collecting methods (photography)
  29. 29. Plant Resources for Illinois Field Guide Books & Websites
  30. 30. Plant Resources for Southern Illinois Field Guide Books & Websites
  31. 31. Data Forms
  32. 32. Analyze the data • Compare diversity (richness/eveness) between patches • Managed vs. unmanaged • Compare grade A vs. grade B • Grazing and logging influences
  33. 33. Implications • What is the canopy composition? • Oak regeneration • Shrub layer • Changes over time • Invasive species trends
  34. 34. Analyze the data • Floristic Quality Index (FQI) • http://pleasantvalleyconservancy.org/fqi.html • Conservatism values • Erigenia, Vol. 15 • www.ill-inps.org/index.php/publications • Species Diversity (Bowles, et al.)
  35. 35. Graph courtesy of Karen Glennemeier

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