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Development of a non-destructive method to assess vegetation structure and structural diversity of tussock grasslands at a landscape scale

By Katherine Dixon, Peter A Whigham, Katharine Dickinson and Grant Norbury


Only an extended abstract and references were published in the proceedings. There is no full text.Measurements of vegetation structure (the three dimensional placement of the vegetation biomass) and structural diversity (the number of vegetation layers present and the abundance of vegetation within them) are required for numerous ecological questions. Several methods exist, but few are time & resource efficient, appropriate for measuring grasslands at a landscape scale and are non-destructive to the vegetation. Furthermore, the lack of studies evaluating such methods makes it difficult for ecologists to choose which is most appropriate. A novel, non-destructive method for measuring both vegetation structure and structural diversity at a landscape scale (using aerial photographs) is being developed. The results attained will be compared with those yielded by two established methods employed for estimating vegetation structure and structural diversity (“Height Frequency Method” (Dickinson 1992) and “MacArthur Method” (MacArthur 1961)) as well as a presence/absence data which is considered as a baseline; representing the vegetative community with no information about structure or structural diversity. The limitations of the existing methods will be presented followed by an overview of the developments to date with the “novel aerial-photo method”. A request for advice and suggestions will be made.PublishedNon Peer ReviewedDickinson, K. J. M. , A. F. Mark & W. G. Lee (1992) Long-Term Monitoring of Nonforest Communities for Biological Conservation. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 30:2, pp. 163-179. MacArthur, R. H. & J. W. MacArthur (1961) On bird species diversity. Ecology, 42: pp. 594-598

Topics: vegetation structure, structural diversity, tussock grassland, aerial photography, QK Botany, QA76 Computer software
Year: 2011
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