Level 1 sampling overview
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Level-1 Sampling Overview. CVS-EEP Vegetation Monitoring Workshop June 9, 2009 Tom Wentworth – NC State University. CAROLINA VEGETATION SURVEY. Background – Level 1. Level 1 is designed specifically for restoration areas with planted material; only planted woody stems are inventoried.

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Level-1 Sampling Overview

CVS-EEP Vegetation Monitoring Workshop

June 9, 2009

Tom Wentworth – NC State University




Background – Level 1

  • Level 1 is designed specifically for restoration areas with planted material; only planted woody stems are inventoried.

    • goals: to determine pattern of installation of woody stems with respect to species, spacing, and density, and to monitor their survival and growth

Information Gathered

  • Plot Data:

    • specific data about the plot (e.g., elevation) and metadata (data about the data, e.g., taxonomic standard used)

  • Planted Woody Stem Data:

    • information about all planted stems, including location, dimensions, vitality, and damage

Some General Guidelines

  • Complete as many fields as possible:

    • fields designated in Bold & Underlined must be completed

  • Use pencil (7 mm mechanical preferred).

  • It is generally preferable to cross out mistakes rather than to erase them.

  • Please take advantage of “NOTES” fields to record helpful information.

About the Inventory Plots

  • Location of stands - based on available vegetation, project goals, needs of landowners, representativeness, etc.

  • Size and shape of plots:

    • for level 1, always 100 m2 (1 are) and either 10 x 10 m (typical) or 5 x 20 m, as needed

About the Inventory Plots

  • Number of plots – please refer to CVS-EEP protocol for guidelines.

  • Other considerations:

    • project directors will select stands within which are placed a plot or plots

    • plots should be placed in such a way that avoids bias

    • plot placement should also avoid edge effects and achieve homogeneity of vegetation and environment

Plot Data -General Information: Plot ID

  • Plot identification is critical to success of the inventory effort:

    • Project Label: unique and assigned by EEP

    • Project name: official name (may not be unique) assigned by EEP

    • Team: each field team within a project has a unique number; use “1” if only one team exists

    • Plot: for each team, a unique numeric identifier for each plot, running sequentially from an initial plot number.

General Information:Level, Date(s), and Party

  • Level: available levels in CVS-EEP protocol are 1-5, but we are only considering level 1 (planted stems only) for our current purposes.

  • Start Date: use dd/mmm/yyyy (e.g., 9/JUN/2009) format

    • add End Date if different from start date

  • Party and Role:

    • all contributors to collection of data, with roles played

General Information:Soil Drainage

  • Identifies the natural drainage conditions of the soil and refers to the frequency and duration of wet periods.

  • Categories are defined in terms of:

    • actual moisture content (in excess of field moisture capacity), and

    • the extent of period during which excess water is present in the plant-root zone

  • Please consult the protocol for details!

General Information: Water

  • Information requested:

    • percent of plot submerged (at the time of inventory)

    • mean water depth (where present)


  • General: overall location (general place name)

  • State and County

  • USGS Quadrangle (if used)

  • Place Names: more specific location name(s)

  • EEP Reach: section of river where study is located

  • Land Owner

GPS Location Data

  • Use of GPS for location data is required for level 1 sampling.

  • GPS Receiver Location - within plot, give X and Y coordinates, typically plot origin.

  • Specify Coordinate System (e.g., UTM) and Coord. Units (e.g., m).

  • Datum - critical information, because all geocoordinates are referenced to a datum, and many different datums are available:

    • we recommend NAD83/WGS84

GPS Location Data

  • Zone (if using UTM system)

  • Lat or Northing (latitude in selected units or UTM-N [7-digit])

  • Long or Easting (longitude in selected units or UTM-E [6-digit])

  • Coordinate Accuracy - m radius, typically provided by GPS receiver

  • GPS File Name - if you saved a waypoint or other file

Site Characteristics

  • Elevation - best taken from topographic maps or GIS (not from GPS unit), or by using properly calibrated altimeter

  • Slope - plot inclination in degrees (always positive)

  • Aspect - azimuth in degrees of direction plot faces

  • Compass Type - are readings magnetic or true (corrected for local declination)?

Plot Placement

  • Project Director or Plot Leader will make this determination.

Taxonomic Standard

  • Plant nomenclature is notoriously labile!

  • It is important to cite the authority (reference) used for the names you applied to plants, because this identifies the concepts behind the names.

  • Our current preference is Alan Weakley’s regional flora (currently 2006 version), but you may choose other standards, or possibly multiple standards!

Plot Diagram

  • This important diagram captures:

    • plot shape and dimensions (Plot Size is default of 1 are [=100 m2])

    • location of plot origin and marking posts (including X and Y coordinates of all Posts relative to origin):

      • we recommend locating plot origin along the side of the plot away from the stream course when the plot is adjacent to a stream (to reduce likelihood of loss of origin stake by flood events)

Plot Diagram

  • This important diagram also captures:

    • GPS location point

    • location and bearing of photo(s)

    • Bearing of Plot X-Axis

    • locations of landmarks, such as streams, banks, fences, witness trees, etc.


  • These notes capture additional information about:

    • Layout (especially unusual features)

    • Plot Location - relocation information can be summarized here

    • Plot Rationale - why this particular location was chosen for the plot

    • Other Notes - typically, this field will capture information about disturbance type and severity

Planted Woody Stem Data Form: Header

  • Field at top of second data form (Planted Woody Stem Data)

    • repeats information from Plot Data form:

      • Leader, Project Label, Team, Plot, Date

    • essential for reuniting data forms if they become separated, so please fill this out as you begin recording data!

    • add page numbering as needed

Planted versus Natural Stems

  • The CVS-EEP Protocol for Recording Vegetation requires that a distinction is made between planted and natural woody stems. Which is which?

    • if there is positive confirmation (e.g., planting plan) or strong evidence (e.g., burlap shreds) that a stem was planted, then consider it planted…otherwise, consider it natural (and thus not recorded in Level 1)!

Planted Stem Data Entry:VBD versus VMD

  • For newly-constructed projects, planted woody stems are initially inventoried through collection of Vegetation Baseline Data (VBD):

  • In years following initial plot establishment, the protocol specifies collection of Vegetation Monitoring Data (VMD):

    • preprinted forms are provided to contractors with the most recent year’s data for planted woody stems in the plot (including a map of stems)

    • contractors update the VMD data form with current dimensions and status of planted woody stems

VBD Planted Stem Data Entry:Species & Source

  • Species Name - use Latin binomials, following your taxonomic standard

  • Source - was planted material Transplanted, Live staked, Balled and burlapped, Potted, Tubling, Bare Rooted, Mechanically planted, or is it Unknown?


VBD Planted Stem Data Entry:Coordinates

  • X and Y Coordinates relative to plot origin (same system used to specify location of posts):

    • in meters, to nearest decimeter (i.e., to 0.1 m precision)

    • values are binned (truncated) such that:

      • 0.0 - 0.099 m is 0.0m

      • 0.1 - 0.199 m is 0.1m

      • 0.2 - 0.299 m is 0.2m

      • and so on...

VBD Planted Stem Data Entry:Stem Dimensions

  • ddh - diameter (mm) at one decimeter height - of largest of multiple stems, but smallest dimension if elliptical, also binned

  • Height - height (cm) to tallest perennating organ (typically a terminal bud) of plant (tallest stem of multiple-stemmed plants), also binned:

    • Note that height precision drops to 10cm if the plant is >250cm and <400cm tall, and to 50cm if plant is >400cm tall.

  • DBH - diameter in cm at breast height (137 cm) for taller plants (largest of multiple stems), also binned

    • ddh, height, and DBH may be determined for different stems of the same plant, but these attributes are assigned to the individual plant

Measure What When?

VBD Planted Stem Data Entry:Vigor and Damage

  • Vigor - 4 (excellent) to 0 (dead) categories, plus Missing (for resurveys)

  • Damage - records observed injury to planted stems (many categories on data form)


  • Work efficiently!

  • Work safely!

    • the “bear” facts about safety

    • questions?

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