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A comparison of riparian vegetation sampling methods along a large, regulated river

May 23, 2019

Monitoring riparian vegetation cover and species richness is an important component of assessing change and understanding ecosystem processes. Vegetation sampling methods determined to be the best option in other ecosystems (e.g., desert grasslands and arctic tundra) may not be the best option in multilayered, species rich, heterogeneous riparian vegetation. This study examines the strengths and weaknesses of two common vegetation sampling methods, line‐point intercept and ocular quadrat estimates. Permutational analysis of variance analyses indicate that cover estimates among observers did not differ significantly for either line‐point intercept or ocular quadrat estimates. Line‐point intercept cover estimates resulted in lower coefficient of variation among observers than ocular quadrat estimates, but the ocular quadrat estimates recorded significantly more species. Line‐point estimates of cover were generally larger than ocular quadrat estimates. Ocular quadrat estimates are appropriate when assessment of richness is important, in areas with heterogeneous geomorphology and hydrology where fine‐scale measurements are most useful, and in areas where continuous sampling transects are impracticable. Line‐point intercept estimates are useful when minimum variation among observers is necessary, continuous transects are logical and practicable for the sampling area, woody cover does not present a logistical complication, and species richness is not a priority.

Publication Year 2019
Title A comparison of riparian vegetation sampling methods along a large, regulated river
DOI 10.1002/rra.3440
Authors Emily C. Palmquist, Sarah Sterner, Barbara Ralston
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title River Research and Applications
Index ID 70203728
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center